August 6, 2013 § 8 Comments
My housemate makes the BEST japchae (our moms don’t count, though *^^*). This is a relatively simple dish, but takes a LOT of preparation and timing is crucial. He washed and prepped everything from start to finish by himself. I’m usually his sous chef for this dish, but I was out with a friend at the time! :p
Here’s how he makes it:
1. PREP VEGGIES AND MEAT.
- All the veggies and fish cake should be sliced to similar sizes. Set these aside.
- Slice the beef lengthwise to bite-size pieces, so that they are somewhat similar to the veggies. Add sliced garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix well. Set aside.
2. PREP NOODLES.
- Bring a pot of water to a vigorous boil and drop in the sweet potato starch noodles (I’ve heard people call them “glassy” noodles) – follow cooking time on the package.
- Drain the noodles and place in a large bowl.
- Add sesame oil right away to coat the noodles. This not only gives the noodles flavor, but it will also prevent it from sticking.
- Add soy sauce just before adding to the wok, otherwise, the noodles will soak it all up and will get too plump (imagine overcooking pasta).
3. ASSEMBLE DISH.
- Heat a wok or large pan, place a generous amount of high heat oil (canola, safflower, grapeseed, vegetable) to sauté the ingredients.
- The ingredients should be added in the following order: carrots, onions, beef, fish cake, green onions, sweet potato starch noodles (add soy sauce to noodles at this time, before adding to the wok), mushrooms, baby kale, spinach. Each layer should be salted a little and sautéed before adding the next ingredient.
- Add some sugar at the end for a little sweetness.
- Mix everything really well.
4. SERVE HOT OR AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.
- One can omit the fish cake and beef to make this a vegetarian dish.
- Add any vegetable you want. We typically use carrots, onions, mushrooms, green onions and spinach.
- I recommend using wood ear, shitake and/or oyster mushrooms. Avoid using crimini and button mushrooms—I don’t think the texture and taste would be right, BUT, to each his own, right?
- We used baby spinach and baby kale for this one, but just remember that it takes longer to cook the baby kale.
- Toasted sesame seeds are also optional — it can look a little “messy” if you use it, though, so it has been omitted here.
- To make it spicy, you can add any of the following or any combination thereof: spicy peppers, red pepper powder, spicy pepper oil.
NOTE: You probably noticed that I have no specific amounts listed and this was not to be annoying, but I genuinely don’t know how much. We just “add enough to make it taste good”. The key is to taste the food at various stages to suit your taste buds and to follow your intuition. That’s typically the answer one would get from a Korean mother. *^^*
WARNING: YOUR MOUTH WILL BE WATERING WHEN LOOKING AT THESE PHOTOS!!!