Monday, 13 December 2010

Jap Chae - Korean Noodles and Vegetables

This is, admittedly, a rather simplified version of Jap Chae, a traditional Korean dish. However, it's quick and tasty and easy to make - a good thing for a week-night supper. You can make it any time of year as the vegetables can easily be changed around to reflect what's in season. Right now it's the the good old trio of cabbage, carrots and onions, with beansprouts and mushrooms to keep them company.

The only hard part is finding the sweet potato noodles (also known as glass noodles). They cook clear, and really have very little flavour of their own. However, they have a great texture and soak up the flavours of the sauce beautifully. If the directions on the package are different from mine, by all means use the ones on the package.

3 to 4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Jap Chae; Korean Glass Noodles
Cook the Noodles:
225 grams (1/2 pound) sweet potato noodles
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. When it boils, add the noodles and stir well. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the noodles sit for 10 minutes, then drain them. Rinse well with cold water, then drain again. Toss them with the oil and vinegar, then use kitchen shears to snip them into shorter, more manageable pieces.

Prepare the Vegetables:
2 cups chopped cabbage or spinach
1 large onion
1 large carrot
12 to 16 button mushrooms
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 or 2 green onions, if available

Wash, trim and chop the cabbage or spinach. Peel the onion and cut it into slivers. Peel the carrot and cut it into slivers as well. Clean and slice the mushrooms. Wash and drain the beansprouts well. I would put in a green onion or two if they were in season as well - trim them and cut them in inch long pieces.

Finish the Dish:
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely minced peeled ginger
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
lightly toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Mix the sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil and set them aside. Peel and mince the ginger and garlic.

Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet. Add the slivered carrots and a tablespoon or two of water, and cook for about a minute, stirring the carrots around, until the water evaporates. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook them for a minute or two, stirring only once or twice, until they are nicely browned. Then add the onion and cabbage (if using), and cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and ginger and stir in. Finally add the bean sprouts (and spinach and green onions, if using) and cook until just wilted, another minute or two.

Finally, toss in the noodles and drizzle the sauce over them. Continue to cook for a minute or two, mixing well until the vegetables and sauce are evenly distributed through the noodles.

That's it! This is often served cool as a salad, but at this time of year I am happier to eat it hot. It's sometimes served with rice but that seems a bit excessive to me.

Last year at this time I made Meatloaf. It was also Christmas cookie baking time. I made Rolled Lemon Cookies and Rolled Spice Cookies.


Geni said...

Your Jap Chae dish looks delicious...making my mouth watering. :) It is my favorite Korean food.

Ferdzy said...

Thanks Geni!