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A delicious vegetarian version of this popular Korean dish. Serves 2-3 as a main dish and 4-5 as a side dish. Jap chae, also spelled japchae or chapchae, is full of vegetables with vibrant colors, and is stir-fried with glass-looking noodles (dangmyeon), and seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and a touch of sugar. A favorite Asian comfort food. The packages of noodles usually have 3 bundles in them. You only need one bundle for this recipe. The trick to this recipe is to stir fry the vegetables separately to build the flavors. By frying them individually, the flavor and color of each vegetable is preserved without any cross blending of the other ingredients. Enjoy! Adapted from Alice of Savory Sweet Life, as posted at Herbovoracious by Michael Natkin. In Korean cuisine, glass noodles are usually made from sweet potato starch, in Japan potato starch, in Vietnam mung bean starch.
- 1 (14 ounce) package cellophane noodles (called dangmyeon, can be bought at Korean grocery stores or most Asian markets-look in the Asian isl)
- 1⁄2 bunch fresh spinach
- 1⁄2 medium yellow onion, sliced into rings, cut in half
- 1 carrot, peeled cut into small match sticks
- 1⁄2 red bell pepper, cut into slices
- 8 -10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 stalks green onions, sliced in 1 1/2-inch slices (green parts only)
- 8 ounces half of a 16 ounce package firm tofu, cut into cubes (about 1-inch )
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- olive oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Boil one bundle of noodles for 5 minutes until softened and al dente in texture. Drain the noodles but do not rinse. Add noodles to a large bowl and cut them three times with kitchen scissors.
- Add 2 tablespoons EACH of soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Toss noodles until sauce is evenly distributed and set aside.
- Using the same pot as the noodles, add enough water to boil spinach for 1 minute. Remove spinach from water and allow to cool just enough to squeeze as much water out as possible. Cut spinach in thirds, and rub 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper into the spinach. Add spinach to the noodle filled bowl.
- Heat a wok or large frying pan on high. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and cook sliced onions for 2 minutes stirring them as they start to turn translucent. Season with a 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil and a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
- Add onions to the bowl of noodles. Repeat the same process as the onions except reduce cooking times to 30 seconds for the carrots, 2 minutes for the bell red pepper, 1 minute for the shiitake mushrooms, and 10 seconds for the green onions. Fry tofu squares for 1 minute per side; but do not add tofu to the large bowl of noodles.
- Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of ground pepper to the noodle bowl and toss everything until well mixed.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the hot wok or skillet and add minced garlic. Allow garlic to cook for a few seconds and add the entire bowl of mixed noodles and vegetables to the wok(or pan).
- Stir-fry everything for 2-3 minutes and turn off heat. Gently add tofu and transfer noodles to a large serving platter.
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.
- Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!.