This new love for Korean all started in California. A few weeks ago Will and I took a road trip down to Sonoma for our second anniversary. While staying with a few of Will’s relatives in Sacramento, we were invited to try Korean for first time with Will’s cousin who is from Korea. She graciously took us to a great little spot in Sacramento and formally educated us on all the essentials when ordering Korean. Will jotted down notes as fast as she could pronounce them. Food surrounded us as we took little tastes from each new dish that was delivered. What amazing flavors; rich but not heavy or pickled but not too much vinegar. It was an incredible culinary adventure and I felt like Anthony Bourdain swooning over noodles and beef. After we left town, words such as Bibimbap, Galbi, Beef and Pork Bulgogi and Japchae swirled around in my head and soon became all I could think about. So much so that we stopped in Portland for more on our drive back home. We arrived home safely from our trip full from a week of food and wine but without any sort of tan. The following week after settling back into our routine, I decided it was time to try making one of these tasty dishes. Japchae is nice and light with great flavor from the combination of vegetables and sesame oil. I sought out glass (starch) noodles, gathered ingredients, watched a video on youtube and went for it. I was successful! Though labor intensive due to cooking each ingredient separately, Japchae is not difficult and well worth making at home. It also makes for great leftovers. Perhaps next I will have to try making Kimchi…
- Starch noodles (“dangmyun”)
- 150 grams of beef
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 1 medium size carrot
- 1 medium size onion
- mushrooms (5 shitake and 1 package of white mushrooms)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 7-8 green onions
- soy sauce, sesame oile, sugar, pepper, and sesame seeds
Makes 4 servings.
How to prepare your ingredients before stir frying:
- Slice shitake and the package of white mushrooms (2-3 cups’ worth).
- Cut a carrot into thin matchstick-shaped pieces 5 cm long.
- Cut 7 -8 green onions into 7 cm long pieces.
- Slice one onion thinly.
- Slice 150 grams of beef into thin strips.
- Boil 2 bunches of noodles in boiling water in a big pot for about 3 minutes. When the noodles are soft, drain them and put in a large bowl.
- Cut the noodles several times by using scissors and add 1 tbs of soy sauce and 1 tbs of sesame oil. Mix it up and set aside.
*tip: Take one sample and taste it to see whether or not it’s cooked properly. If it feels soft, it’s finished.
- In the boiling water, add a bunch of spinach and stir it gently for 1 minute. Then take it out and rinse it in cold water 3 times. Remove any grit or dead leaves thoroughly while rinsing. Squeeze it gently to get the water out, then cut it into 5 cm pieces.
- Add ½ tbs soy sauce and ½ tbs sesame oil and mix it and place it onto the large bowl.
*tip: When you drain the hot water from the pot, don’t discard the hot water. Put it back into the pot so you can cook your spinach quickly.
- On a heated pan, put a few drops of olive oil and your carrot strips and stir it with a spatula for 30 seconds. Put it into the large bowl (don’t burn it!).
- Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add your sliced onion. Stir it until the onion looks translucent. Put it into the large bowl with your carrots.
- Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add the sliced white mushrooms. Stir it for a bit and then put it in the large bowl.
- Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add your green onions. Stir for 1 minute and put it into the large bowl.
- Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add your beef strips and your sliced shitake mushrooms. Stir it until it’s cooked well, then add 3 cloves of minced garlic, ½ tbs soy sauce and ½ tbs sugar. Stir for another 30 seconds and then put it into the large bowl.
- Add 2 tbs of soy sauce, 3 tbs of sugar, 2 tbs of sesame oil, and 1 tsp of ground pepper to the large bowl. Mix all ingredients, then sprinkle 1 tbs of toasted sesame seeds on the top.
Serve with rice and Kimchi, or as a side dish.
Recipe from Maangchi (great video with original recipe) and only very slightly changed