Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles with Vegetables and Beef)

DSC05414Japchae is a special occasion Korean dish made with sweet potato noodles, vegetables and sometimes beef, and flavored with soy sauce and sugar. It is usually served with sesame seeds and and may be served hot or cold. I came upon this recipe sometime late last year—I can’t even remember where—maybe the Dane County Farmers’ Market e-newsletter? I made the dish when I had a few days off work over winter break. I doubled the recipe to make it worth the while since the directions seemed somewhat involved, and it made a huge amount that offered leftovers for days. While the recipe recommends serving the dish at room temperature, I also liked it warm.

Japchae – Korean Glass Noodles with Vegetables and Beef (barely adapted from beyondkimchee.com; serves 4-6)

10 oz glass noodles (I used Bun Tau Lily Bean Thread noodles from Yue Wah)
⅓ lb lean cut of beef, cut into 2″ long and ¼” thick sticks
1 bunch spinach, trimmed and cleaned
1 medium carrot, cut into 2″ long and ⅛” thick sticks
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 shitaki mushrooms, sliced
¼ lb oyster mushrooms, sliced

For the beef marinade :
1 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium), ½ tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon pepper

For the mushroom seasoning :
1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the spinach seasoning :
½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the noodle seasoning :
3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted), 1 teaspoon pepper

Mix together the beef marinade in a shallow dish. Add the the sliced beef to the marinade and marinate for 1-2 hours or up to overnight.

Using a medium pot, boil water over medium-high heat. Blanch mushrooms for a few seconds. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and and rinse them in cold water. Squeeze out excess water. Place in a small bowl.

In the same boiling water, add the spinach and blanch for a few seconds. Drain, rinse in cold water and squeeze out the excess water. Place in a separate small bowl.

Mix the mushrooms and spinach each with their seasoning ingredients separately.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onions and carrots separately with salt and sugar to taste over medium heat for 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl.

In the same skillet, saute beef and cook until done. Reserve the juice from the meat in the pan. Set the meat aside on a plate.

Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes (or follow package directions). Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water.

Add the noodles to the skillet with reserved meat juice and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the noodle seasoning and toss well. In the large bowl with onions and carrots, add the spinach, mushrooms, and toss with noodles. Adjust seasoning for your taste. Serve at room temperature.

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