I’ve been itching to do this classic Korean dish ever since I got hooked on watching Winter Sonata series. It was the first time I got to learn of this Korean noodle staple that, most of the time, you see is being eaten by K-pop stars in dramas. A lot of times, it’s featured in Asian cooking shows. It has become more and more familiar food among Filipinos, as well, as more and more Koreans come and dwell in the Philippines.
For this recipe, I went over Maangchi’s online classes (www.maangchi.com) to get a visual idea of how to go about cooking Japchae. I was lucky too, to find the noodles—sweet potato starch noodles—available at the SM Hypermarket in Festival Mall Alabang while scouring its international section. I’m ready with the rest of the basic vegetable ingredients needed for this recipe.
Maangchi is right. This is a winner during parties, get-togethers and potlucks. Plus, it’s fairly easy to make.
4 ounces of beef cut into long strips
2 large Shiitake mushrooms (I used fresh) cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
4 ounces spinach, washed and drained
4 ounces of dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)
2 to 3 leeks cut into 2-inch long pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 medium sized- red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 fresh egg
ground black pepper
extra sesame oil
1. Put the slices of beef and shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, season with the next five ingredients. Set aside or put in the refrigerator;
2. Assemble the toppings: crack the egg and separate the white from the yolk. Discard the white. Beat the egg yolk, season with a hint of salt. Fry in a non-stick pan, careful not to burn. Slice the fried egg yolk thinly like paper strips, then set aside.
3. In the same pan, pour a little amount of sesame oil. Stir-fry the carrots first, then put in the bell peppers. Then add the leeks, and onions. Season lightly with salt. Once done, transfer the stir-fried veggies in a bowl.
4. In the same pan, stir fry the beef and mushroom mixture, pouring everything including the marinade. Set aside once the beef is done or put it together with the stir-fried veggies.
5. Boil 1 quarts of water lightly salted. Once boiling, blanch the spinach for about 2-3 minutes. Then remove the leaves and put them under cold running water. Squeeze the spinach with your hands to rid of excess water.
6. Cook the noodles in the same boiling water. Follow package directions, stir the noodles frequently to prevent it from sticking to each other. Drain the noodles under cold running water when the noodles becomes transparent or glass-like. Once drained, season the noodles with soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds, this will add more color and flavor to the noodles and at the same time keep it from getting sticky.
7. Toss the noodles together with the stir-fried vegetables, beef and mushrooms. Garnish with egg strips and more toasted sesame seeds if desired.