Monday, July 27, 2015

Japchae I

As yesterday was a busy Sunday with so many things to do, I decided to make an easy peasy dinner that wouldn't need much effort but yet taste really yummy and healthy.

I came across this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and was pretty surprised to see that he has a Korean recipe that is under his repetoire. I was intrigued. For many of you who haven't tried japchae before, it is a Korean dish made from sweet potato noodles, stir fried in sesame oil with vegetables, sometimes fried with beef or other proteins as you wish, and flavoured with soy sauce and some sugar. Thereafter, it is served with sesame seeds sprinkled all over and served either hot or cold, whichever is your preference. Interestingly, this is usually a side dish or banchan as Koreans call it.
I tried it and was pretty surprised to see how easy this recipe can be. I have made Japchae before but it involved quite a bit of steps in it. So I was keen to find out how easy this recipe from Ottolenghi would be.

40g dried black fungus (pak-pui) or dried wood ear mushrooms

100ml soy sauce
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
200g sweet potato starch noodles (Korean vermicelli)
1 tbsp sesame oil
250g large spinach leaves, washed
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely sliced
5cm piece ginger, peeled and julienned
2 large red chillies, deseeded and julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
150g shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1cm slices
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain, discard the woody stem, then cut into 0.5cm-thick strips and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the soy, sugar and oyster sauce, if using, and set aside.
  3. Fill a medium pan with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles, cook for eight minutes (or according to the packet instructions) and drain. Transfer to a medium bowl, pour on the sesame oil and mix. Refill the pan with water, bring to a boil, cook the spinach for a minute and drain.
  4. Heat the groundnut oil in a wok or sauté pan over a medium-high heat, then fry the onion for five minutes, stirring a few times, until it starts to take on some colour. Add the ginger, chilli, carrot and shiitake, fry for two minutes, then add the rehydrated mushrooms, noodles, spinach and soy-sugar mix. Stir-fry for two to three minutes, remove from the heat, stir in the sesame seeds and serve.

Did you see how yummy this Japchae is? I absolutely love it. Mr G loves his vegetables and he likes the taste of this Japchae. This is a perfect one-dish meal. If you like, you may add some protein to your Japchae. I think it would be superb as well.

I'm submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs - July Potluck.

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