Japchae is another popular dish in Korean cuisine. Julia demonstrated this dish at the Gilmore Park Church community kitchen. Japchae literally means a mixture of vegetables. It can be served as a side dish or as a main dish on its own.
Japchae is a noodle dish made with sweet potato noodles. It is loaded with vegetables and has a strong sesame oil flavour. Japchae can be served hot or cold, hence it makes a great potluck dish.
500g Oriental (sweet potato) noodles i.e. 2 bundles
300g spinach (1 bunch), wash, blanched in salted water and drained
200g carrot (1 medium), peel, slice into match stick
10 pieces Pyogo mushroom, slice
200g onion (2 small), thinly slice
300g rib eye beef, cut into thin strips, marinate with salt and pepper
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
To cook the noodle, add water to a big pot, about 3-inches. Bring to a boil. Add a teaspoon of oil and soy sauce to flavour the water.
Loosen the sweet potato noodles before dropping them into the water so that they will not cook into a lump. Cook the noodle for 7 minutes.
Drain the noodle and use a pair of scissors to cut the noodles into shorter strings.
Lightly fry the noodle with some sesame oil. Set aside.
Prepare the rest of the ingredients for frying.
Fry the onion with some oil and season with salt. Set them aside.
Similarly, fry the carrot sticks, blanched spinach and mushrooms individually and season with salt. Set aside.
For the beef, first saute the minced garlic in a little oil. Add the beef strips and fry until the liquids is evaporated.
In a large bowl, combine all the individually sautéed ingredients.
Season the ingredients with soy sauce, sugar, pepper, sesame seeds (remember to crush the sesame seeds with your finger tips to release more flavour) and sesame oil to taste. We noticed that when Julia test taste the noodle, she will turn her back towards us when she put the noodle into her mouth. I guess this the Korean way to be courteous.
With a pair of kitchen gloves underneath another pair of disposable gloves (as the ingredients are still hot), toss the noodles and the ingredients gently to mix well. This method of cooking the ingredients individually and toss them by hand is to ensure that the japchae looks nice and not mingled up in a mess. However, if you are cooking for a smaller portion, you can stir fry them all in the frying pan.Place the japchae on a serving platter and garnish with more sesame seeds.
Julia also brought some Korean cookies to share with us. The cookies that resemble egg rolls are flavoured with citrus. Those round cookies in individual packages are like little doughnuts which are deep fried. These cookies are available in Korean groceries store like Hannam found in downtown and Coquitlam. As for the rest of the ingredients for the Bulgogi and Japchae, you can find them in T&T.
Julia, thank you so much for sharing your Korean culinary skills with us and Michelle, thank you for interpreting for Julia.