Spring Vegetable Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)
Japchae is a savory Korean stir-fry with mixed vegetables, beef and sweet potato noodles. Also known as glass noodles, sweet potato noodles can be found in Asian markets; once cooked, the noodles turn translucent, light and chewy. (They are also wheat-free, so they are a great option for those avoiding gluten.) The noodles are cooked first, then sit in the sauce, absorbing all of the garlicky sesame and soy flavors like a sponge. This springtime japchae celebrates crisp asparagus and snap peas. Japchae can be made a few hours ahead and served at room temperature, making it the perfect dish for potlucks and picnics.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ¼cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1tablespoon minced garlic
- 1tablespoon turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 12ounces dried sweet potato noodles (glass noodles)
- 3tablespoons safflower or canola oil
- ½small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- 4ounces carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
- 4ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1medium yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick strips
- 4ounces sugar snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 6ounces asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a bias, tips kept whole (about 1 heaping cup)
- 4ounces baby spinach (about 2 packed cups)
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Step 1Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, sugar, sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Step 2In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add half of the sauce (about 3 tablespoons) and toss to evenly coat.
Step 3In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons safflower oil over medium. Add onion and carrots, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Step 4Add mushrooms and half the remaining sauce (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the noodles.
Step 5Add the remaining 1 tablespoon safflower oil and the bell pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add snap peas and asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach to the skillet and stir until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture into the bowl with the noodles. Add the remaining sauce and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 6Divide japchae among bowls and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature.