Japchae made easy
Easy japchae recipe. I don’t always have time to make every ingredient for Japchae. So I found a way to do it easier and using ingredients I have at hand. Cooking the vegetables altogether in one pan helps to speed things up as well. So let’s get started!
2 bunches or less Korean noodle dish with sweet potato noodles
1 small onion — peeled and sliced
2 stalks of scallions
4 Dried shiitake mushrooms ( soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes)
3 oz of shredded carrots ( store bought makes life so much easier)
half of bell pepper ( doesn’t matter which color)
1 small bunch of spinach ( washed and cooked)
zucchini ( optional)
3-4 cloves of minced fresh garlic
Mirin ( optional)
sesame seed oil
Toasted sesame seeds ( optional)
Little Prep works before the cooking time
- Make sure all vegetables and wash, and prepared ahead of time. Soak sweet potato noodles in warm water for about 30 minutes.
- Cook your spinach if you haven’t done some by boiling some water and adding some salt to water. Add the spinach once it is boiling hot and cook for only 2 minutes and shock it in cold water. Strain the spinach and let it air dry a bit.
- Slice up the onions, bell peppers, and zucchini and shiitake mushrooms.
- Plate all of your vegetable ingredients onto a plate and set it aside
- Time to make the noodles. In a medium size pot add water more than half way full.
- Add some salt to the water and once the water is boiling hot add the noodles. The noodles should cook up in abut 8-9 minutes or less. The soaking of the noodles before hand this will make the noodles cook fast. Timer on or stay close by to check on the noodles. Test the texture of the noodle by eating a strain. It needs to be soft yet have a chewy firmness. It is ready strain the noodle in a colander and then place into a mixing bowl.
- Have out a frying pan place onto the burner. Turn the heat on to medium high heat and add some cooking oil.
- In the mean time take out seasonings, sugar, black pepper, garlic, soy sauce, sesame seed, sesame oil and mirin. Have them all lined up and be ready to use as you cook.
- Add to the hot frying pan, starting with the onions add the raw vegetables into the pan. You will add cooked spinach last.
- Add minched garlic and eye with control the sugar, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and mirin. Stir to combine and place a lid on top to let it cook for about 3-4 minutes.
- Check on the vegetables the zucchini and carrorts that will take take extra 4 minutes to cook through.
- Once the zucchini and carrots are cooked with a softer texture add all those ingredients into the bowl with the sweet potato noodles.
- Next eye ball with control sugar, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and black pepper. Using a strong pair of chop sticks or mixing fork combine the ingredients with the seasonings. Taste the noodles until it taste sweet and sesame seed like. It is not a super sweet dish but it needs to be sweet taste to the dish. If you don’t like it sweet add more soy sauce for saltiness.
- Once it is tasting yummy and how you like it add some toasted sesame seeds on top and serve it up immediately or you can let it cool down to serve it at room temperature too. Refrigerate left overs and yes you can eat it cold too.
What is “eye ball with control?’
Okay it’s a term I made up. Cooking in the kitchen needs to be fast and easy. Cooking isn’t an exact science like baking has to be. So when I say ” eye with control,” be careful about how much seasoning or flavors you add to the dish. You don’t have to take out measuring spoons to season while you cook. It takes too long and it makes for a clutter cooking space.
Just eye ball it and slow down when doing so. One way to control the seasoning is by pouring some salt and pepper into small prep bowls, and using the fingers to pinch the salt and season to season from up top. You do this by taking your fingers to pinch the salt and sprinkle the salt into the dish from above it. This helps to see where the salt lands and controls the amount of salt that goes into the dish. You can do this with all dry seasonings.
I know you can’t do that with soy sauce or sesame oil. So eye ball it with control add those seasonings with care. Go slow and add small amounts to see how much is pour into the dish. Taste the food over and over until the dish taste just right.