Japchae: Korean Marinated Glass Noodles with Vegetables

I don’t want to talk about how summer is ending, but I do want to talk about how this is the perfect late summer meal.

japchae 3

Delicious when served hot, room temperature or cold, japchae is made with sweet potato glass noodles called dangmyun that you can find at your local Asian market (or online.) The noodles soak in a savory-sweet marinade before being joined by meaty, umami marinated mushrooms and individually-sauteed veggies. Although each component is simple to prepare, this has always been among my top two best-selling dishes. If you’ve never tried Korean food before, japchae is a phenomenal introduction.

Note: It looks like a lot more ingredients than it is because there are duplicates between the marinades.

japchae 2

Yield: 10 servings

  • 12 oz dangmyun (Korean sweet potato glass noodles)
  • 1 lb mushrooms (ideally shiitake, but crimini or oyster will work), thoroughly washed and thinly sliced (including stems)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 4 oz (about 2 packed cups) fresh spinach, washed
  • 1 yellow onion (optional), julienned
  • Olive oil, refined coconut oil or vegetable oil for sauteing

Spinach Marinade:

Noodle Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari (coconut aminos if you’re paleo, but PSA it won’t be as good)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp agave (maple syrup if you’re paleo)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar (coconut sugar if you’re paleo)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Mushroom Marinade:

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari (coconut aminos if you’re paleo)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp agave (maple syrup if you’re paleo)

To Garnish:

  • Sesame seeds
  1. Mix together mushroom marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add mushrooms, mix thoroughly and set aside
  2. In a large pot, bring about two quarts of water to a boil. Add noodles and stir occasionally until noodles are bouncy and al dente- don’t let them get completely soft and mushy
  3. Drain noodles and rinse in cold water. Using kitchen scissors, cut noodles to about 8 inches so that they’re not too long
  4. Transfer noodles to a large bowl. Mix noodle marinade ingredients and add in with the noodles, mixing gently until fully incorporated
  5. In your pot, bring about 5 cups of water to a boil. Add spinach and cook just for about 30 seconds or until soft and wilted. Quickly drain and cool with cold running water
  6. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach, then thoroughly mix in the sesame oil, salt and garlic. I really recommend sauteing the garlic first, but it’s optional and not traditional
  7. Heat a skillet to medium heat, drizzle a little oil onto the pan and saute your carrots. Once they’re al dente but not too soft, remove and set aside. Then do the same for your bell peppers
  8. If adding onion, saute your onion on medium heat just like you did the carrots and bell peppers. You don’t have to use the method this time, you can just get the onions lightly golden-brown. Remove onions from pan and set aside
  9. With your skillet still on medium heat, drizzle about a teaspoon more oil onto the pan and then add your mushrooms. Stir frequently as the excess water evaporates to keep the sugars in the marinade from sticking to the pan and burning. Cook until the mushrooms have browned and have a meaty bite to them
  10. If desired, stir-fry your marinated noodles on the skillet for a minute or two, or leave uncooked
  11. Mix mushrooms, carrots, spinach, bell pepper and (optional) onion in with the noodles
  12. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve

japchae components

Shortcuts you can take that won’t ruin the dish:

  • Not including the onion- it’s not a dealbreaker for the flavor or texture
  • Not stir-frying the noodles at the end

Shortcuts that definitely will ruin the dish:

  • Sauteing all your veggies at the same time- with a lot of Korean dishes, especially this one, it is crucial to saute each vegetable individually so that each one gets just the right texture and flavor
  • Using trash garlic

japchae 1

Enjoy your japchae and take care of each other out there, friends

 

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