when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs
Korean steamed white rice is very starchy and can fill the tummy up pretty quickly, so much so that sometimes, i prefer to order japchae, or Korean stir fried glass noodles instead, to go with other dishes..
japchae is a dish consisting of glass noodles (made of either mung bean or sweet potato) stir fried in sesame oil with vegetables and meat, and seasoned with soy sauce or other seasonings.. it’s a really simple and easy dish to whip up and very easy on the palate as well.. its mild flavors makes it less intimidating compared to most other spicy Korean dishes and is suitable as a starter dish for those getting their taste buds introduced to Korean food for the first time..
glass noodles, or dangmyeon in Korean is gluten free and looks like translucent jelly strings when cooked.. in Chinese (Hokkien), it’s called tang hoon, and can be easily found in most shops selling dried food items.. it’s also referred to as cellophane noodles, due to its translucence .. it’s very similar to the common vermicelli, or bee hoon which is made of rice flour which turns an opaque color when cooked.. it’s easy to mistake one for the other.. however, if you take a closer look at the two, you’ll quickly notice that dried glass noodles look really translucent, almost like dried thin jelly strips..
just like vermicelli, it needs to be soaked in water for at least an hour to soften before cooking.. either that, or drop it right into boiling water to soften for about 2-3 minutes.. take the noodles out and rinse it under cold running water for a few seconds to stop the cooking process and it’s ready to be used.. sometimes i add it to stir fried loofa gourd (petola in Malay) with thin tofu sheets, just the way mom cooks it.. it’s also delicious in chicken and dried lily buds soup..
today’s recipe is my version of a vegetarian japchae that is a huge favorite of hubs.. just like most types of noodles, glass noodles doesn’t have a taste to it, and needs to be flavored with seasonings..i prefer to use oyster sauce to flavor the noodles, as it’s milder and not as salty as soy sauce.. as the pre-sauteed vegetables are already seasoned with salt, oyster sauce balances everything out just nicely without excess saltiness to it..
you can garnish your japchae with either lightly toasted sesame seeds or, if you don’t have any, chopped spring onions or chives will do just as beautifully..