Cucina Adventures #5 : Japchae

Hey there! It’s been a while since my last food post and I’m so thrilled to be back at it again.

I cannot say I’ve mastered but I have tried a lot of filipino noodle dishes already so I wanted to try something new for my birthday. I remember seein Japchae in a Korean variety show a few weeks back so I decided to give this a go. Japchae is a Korean dish made of sweet potato noodles with stir fried veggies and meat.

You can view the original recipe here but since for me, I don’t want to have any more leftover raw noodles and I rarely cook the past few days I made a big batch and tweeked the recipe a bit.

As a technique also, I suggest using your hands (I was too scared I might spoil the whole thing so I just used wooden spoon) to mix the ingredients so you dont end up like me eating all noodles on the first and all meat and veggies during the last serving haha!

Here’s the tweeked version, enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
450g beef, filet mignon (or pork shoulder), cut into ¼ inch wide and 2½ inch long strips (I used pork because my mother doesn’t eat beef)
9 pcs dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 2 to 3 hours, cut into thin strips
9 garlic cloves, minced
9 TBSP  sugar
10 TBSP soy sauce
8 TBSP sesame oil
3 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
4 large eggs
450 g spinach, washed and drained
500 g dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)
10-12 green onions, cut crosswise into 2 inch long pieces
4 medium white onions sliced thinly
16 pcs white mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 large carrots cut into matchsticks
½ red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (optional)
(I had leftover half red and half green bell peppers in the fridge, instead of throwing them I just added it in)
ground black pepper
salt
vegetable oil

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WHITE BUTTON MUSHROOMS
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CARROTS AND ONIONS
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BELL PEPPERS

Directions
Marinate the pork and mushrooms
Put the pork and shiitake mushrooms into a bowl and mix with 4 cloves of minced garlic, 3TBSP sugar, 1 TBSP ground black pepper, 3 TBSP soy sauce and 1 TBSP sesame oil with a wooden spoon or by hand. Cover and keep it in the fridge. (I marinated mine around 5 hours)

Make the egg garnish (jidan)
Crack the egg and separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Remove the white stringy stuff (chalaza) from the yolk. Beat in a pinch of salt with a fork. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to a heated nonstick pan. Swirl the oil around so it covers the pan. To keep the jidan as yellow as possible, put the fire on lowest setting and pour 1/3 of the egg on the side of the pan. Tilt it around so the mixture spreads thinly and cook evenly. Let it cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip it over and let it sit on the pan for 30 to 45 minutes Let it cool and slice it into thin strips.

Prepare the noodles and vegetables
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then take it out with a slotted spoon or strainer. Let the water keep boiling to cook the noodles. Rinse the spinach in cold water to stop it from cooking. Squeeze it with your hands to remove any excess water and put it into a bowl.

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SPINACH

Put the noodles into the boiling water, cover and cook for 1 minute. Stir them with a wooden spoon so they don’t stick together. Cover and keep cooking for another 7 minutes until the noodles are soft and chewy.

Strain and cut them a few times with kitchen scissors. (I didn’t cut mine because it’s my birthday, it’s our belief that noodles symbolizes long life) Put the noodles into the large bowl next to the spinach. Add 4 TBSP sesame oil, 3 TBSP soy sauce, and 3 TBSP sugar. Mix well by hand or a wooden spoon. This process will season the noodles and also keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil with the onion, the green onion, and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry about 2 minutes until the onion looks a little translucent. Transfer to the noodle bowl.

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ONIONS

Heat up the skillet again and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Add the white mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until softened and a little juicy. Transfer to the noodle bowl.

WHITE MUSHROOMS
WHITE MUSHROOMS

Heat up the skillet and add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Add the carrot and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add the red bell pepper strips and stir-fry another 20 seconds. Transfer to the noodle bowl.

RED BELL PEPPER AND CARROTS
RED BELL PEPPER AND CARROTS

Heat up the skillet and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Add the pork and mushroom mixture and stir fry for a few minutes until the pork is no longer pink and the mushrooms are softened and shiny. (I cooked the pork for around 6-7 mins) Transfer to the noodle bowl.

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MARINATED PORK AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

Mix and serve:
Add 5 minced garlic clove, 4 tablespoon soy sauce, 3 tablespoon sugar, 1TBSP ground black pepper, and 3 TBSP of sesame oil to the mixing bowl full of ingredients. Mix all together by hand.

MIX MIX
MIX MIX

Add the egg garnish and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Mix it and transfer it to a large plate and serve.

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THE FINISHED PRODUCT!

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