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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Japchae (Korean Stir Fried Noodles) 잡채

Japchae was one of the first few dishes that was introduced to me when I had my very first exposure to the Korean cuisine years ago. Despite its pure simplicity without anything really fancy in its making, this was one that had surprisingly left me with an exceptionally good impression - healthy, plain tasty, pleasant to the palate and very appealing to the eyes in fact. The delicate strands of sweet potato noodles come tender but not overly so, retaining its springy nature just so perfectly well. Tossed with a myriad of ingredients and some simple seasonings, the noodles adopt the richness of flavor coming from this whole combination. The end result - a plate of stir fried noodles with a distinctive pleasing texture and a touch of crunch plus the exotic combination of different tastes and colors, all in one. A light and nourishing dish to my personal definition, this is one in which a spoonful will always leave you wanting for more.

Japchae (Korean Stir Fried Noodles) 잡채
Adapted from Maangchi

Serves 3-4
1/2lb sweet potato vermicelli
1/2lb pork, thinly sliced
6 shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and soaked to soften then sliced thinly
3 wood ear fungus, rinsed and soaked to soften, trimmed then sliced thinly
1/2lb spinach leaves, rinsed
1 medium sized onion, cut into thin wedges
1 small sized carrot, cut into matchsticks
5 stalks spring onions, cut into 1½" sections
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cooking oil
3 tbsps soy sauce
3 tbsps sesame oil 
1 tbsp sugar
a dash or two of white pepper powder
a little salt for boiling water
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnishing

Meat marinade
a few dashes of white pepper powder
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp corn starch    

1. Have the pork slices marinated slightly in advance and refrigerated until cooking time.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Boil the sweet potato vermicelli in the boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the vermicelli to a pot of cold water to halt cooking. Drain thoroughly and toss with a tbsp of light soy sauce and sesame oil each. Briefly cut the noodles with the kitchen shears.
3. Bring another pot of water to boil with a pinch or two of salt. Blanch the spinach leaves until just wilted. Remove and rinse under cold running water. Lightly squeeze the leaves with hands and set aside.
4. Heat up a large skillet with about 1/2 tbsp of cooking oil. Add in 1/3 of the minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add in the onion next, followed by the carrot and spring onion. Stir until they are about 70% cooked. Remove from heat and set aside. Toss with 1/2 tbsp of light soy sauce and sesame oil each and mix well.
5. Bring the skillet to heat with the remaining cooking oil. Add in the remaining garlic and again stir fry until aromatic. Add in the shiitake mushrooms and wood ear fungus with 1/2 tbsp of sugar and light soy sauce each. Stir to mix well.
6. Add in the pork slices together with 1/2 tbsp sesame oil. Mix well and continue cooking until the pork changes color.
7. Transfer in the noodles and vegetables and stir to mix well. Finish with adding in a tbsp of light soy sauce and sesame each together with 1/2 tbsp sugar. Toss really well to get them incorporated with all the contents in the skillet. Add in a dash or two of white pepper powder.
8. Dish out, sprinkle over the top with some toasted sesame seeds and serve.


  1. Despite Japchae's pure simplicity without anything really fancy in its making, this was one that had surprisingly left me with an exceptionally good impression.

  2. Very tasty food, cheap and easy to get, culinary
    Korea the mom is really good
    thank you article


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