Japchae (also spelled as chap chae) is the first Korean dish I tried. Believe it or not, before I came to the United States, I had never had Korean food. Growing up in Malaysia with all its glorious local cuisines and family’s home cooking, I seldom tried other cuisines…plus there weren’t many international restaurants back then.
I first had Japchae when I lived in San Francisco. I fell in love with the springy and slightly chewy texture of the japchae noodle, which is made from sweet potato. Korean food was new to me, the taste—especially the dishes with lots of heat—reminded me of Malaysian cuisine, but it’s completely different and interesting…
Korean cooking is currently high on my priority list. Even though I enjoy Korean food tremendously, I am a novice but I have been cooking a lot of Korean dishes lately. Please stay tuned as I am going to expand the Korean Recipes category with kimchi fried rice, Korean pancakes, bulgogi, and more. Anyway, here is my japchae (chap chae) recipe, which is easy and takes only 30 minutes to prepare. Enjoy!
8 oz noodles
4 oz spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water, stem removed and sliced
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
1 stalk scallion, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt to taste
1 heaping teaspoon toasted white sesame
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Cook the sweet potato noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold running water. Cut the noodles using a pair of scissors into about 6-inch lengths. Set aside.
Heat up a pot of water and bring it to boil. Blanch the spinach until they are wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the water and rinse the spinach under cold running water. Form the spinach into a ball and squeeze it to discard the remaining water. Cut the spinach ball into half.
Heat up the oil in a skillet or wok and add the garlic, onion, mushroom, and carrot and cook for about two minutes. Add the scallion and stir-fry for another minute. Turn the heat to low and add the noodles and spinach into the skillet or wok, follow by the sesame oil, the Sauce, and salt to taste. Stir to combine well. Dish out, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and served at room temperature.
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