I’ve bookmarked so many recipes in my cookbook by Maangchi, the Big Book of Korean Cooking, published in 2019. I’ve made quite a few recipes already, including one for the blog – Korean Vegetable Pancake. Reading the cookbook has been extra fun because we were just in Seoul, Korea last summer, and what a beautiful city. It’s so modern, and yet there are still ancient parts. We visited temples, a monastery where we were served a wonderful vegan lunch, and had dinner at Gwangjang Market, where as you can imagine we saw just about everything raw and cooked. Plus lots of kimchi!
This recipe involves a new product for me – sweet potato noodles – which is why I had to try it. Thank you Amazon, of course. The real recipe name is Sweet Potato Starch Noodles with Vegetables and Meat, or japchae.
According to Maangchi, “Japchae is a beautiful dish of translucent sweet potato noodles, lots of colorful vegetables, mushrooms, and meat. Along with kimchi and bulgogi, it’s one of the most popular and best-known Korean dishes.”
Maangchi suggests pork belly, beef tenderloin, or skinless chicken breast for this noodle dish. I used beef tenderloin.
8 ounces beef tenderloin, cut into 2 1/2” long strips
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
7 or 8 wood ear mushrooms, soaked in cold water for at least 30 minutes
8 ounces sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon) soaked in cold water for 40 mins
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into 1-2” matchsticks
4 to 6 scallions, cut into 2 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Yellow Egg Strips (recipe below)
Combine your choice of meat, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a bowl and mix well with a spoon. Cover and refrigerate.
Drain and transfer the wood ear mushrooms to the cutting board. Cut off the tough stems and discard. Cut the caps into bite-size pieces.
Drain the noodles and, using scissors, but into 5 – 6” lengths.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, garlic, remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and black pepper in a bowl and mix well until the sugar has dissolved.
Heat a skillet over high heat and add the marinated meat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the meat is thoroughly cooked and glazed and all the liquid has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
In a large, heavy pot, combine the wood ear mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, onion, carrot, scallions, vegetable oil, and 1/4 cup water. Mix well with both hands so that all of the vegetables and mushrooms are nicely coated with oil.
Add the spinach and spread in an even layer. Place the noodles on top. Drizzle the seasoning sauce on top of the noodles. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir and toss all the ingredients with a wooden spoon and tongs for 1 to 2 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated and the noodles are nicely cooked and shiny.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the meat, the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and the sesame seeds. Toss the mixture so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Transfer to a large platter.
Garnish with the egg paper strips and serve.
To make the egg strips, simply whisk 2 egg yolks with a little salt. Pour the mixture into a non-stick pan and tip the pan until the mixture spreads. After a minute place the “pancake” on a cutting board and slice into strips.
This was delicious! I can’t wait to make more Korean dishes.