It is interesting how different cultures have similar dishes and sometimes similar names. The Korean Japchae is similar to a Chinese dish known as Chap Chai in Fujianese (Hokkien) or Chai Choy in Cantonese. When translated, chap chai means mixed vegetables. Both japchae and chap chai has a mixed of vegetables and clear noodles in them. Though japchae is often cooked with strips of beef, it can be left out to keep it vegetarian.
I cook japchae often as it is a relatively quick and easy dish to prepare. One essential ingredient in japchae is dangmyeon or sweet potato noodles. This is a slightly thicker and darker noodle than the bean threads but has a similar slippery texture. This noodle is available in most Asian grocery stores. The one shown below is made in Korea but I also use the ones made in China which comes in a bag with green labels.
Let’s get to the recipe!
- 4 oz (115g) sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 small red bell pepper, julienned
- 8 oz (225g) spinach, ends trimmed and thoroughly washed
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 3 stalks green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add sweet potato noodles. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoon sugar. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoon sesame oil. Add garlic and onions and fry until just softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add carrots and bell pepper and stir fry for another two minutes. Add spinach, cooked noodles, pepper, and soy sauce mixture. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Add green onions and sesame seed. Stir to mix well. Remove and serve immediately.
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Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!