Japchae

Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Noodles

banner

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

This vegetable-heavy noodle stir-fry is a traditional janchi, or party dish for Korean celebrations and family gatherings. I like to make it for a big group of people because it does require a bit of time to make. You have to prepare each of the vegetables separately, so each is perfectly cooked, and as a result, the flavors are delicious and pure. Slinky sweet potato noodles—called dang myeon, shown—are especially springy and fun to eat, and leftovers can be easily warmed up in a frying pan: The fat and cloudy coldnoodles return to their glossy luster when they’re kissed by the heat.

Ingredients

For the Noodles

  • 6 ounces (170 g) dried dang myeon
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

For the Vegetables

  • Grapeseed or olive oil, for pan-frying
  • ½ white onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchstick-size pieces or julienned
  • ½ pound (225 g) cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized knob peeled fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 bunch spinach, arugula, green cabbage, or Swiss chard leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 small red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size pieces or thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

For Serving

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
  • 3 raw egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias

Method

  1. Prepare the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions until they are cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold running water until the noodles feel cool to the touch.
  2. Shake off any excess water from the noodles and place them in a large mixing bowl with the sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar. Toss until the noodles are well coated, then set the bowl aside.
  3. Prepare the vegetables: In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the onion until soft, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and add them to the bowl with the noodles.
  4. Add the carrot to the skillet and cook, stirring once or twice, just until it begins to soften, about a minute and a half. Add them to the bowl with the noodles.
  5. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, then cook the mushrooms with the grated ginger, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release all their liquid and the pan is almost dry. Add them to the bowl with the noodles.
  6. If using the greens, add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook the greens, stirring occasionally, until they just soften, about 2 minutes. Drain off any liquid from the pan and place the wilted greens in a colander set into a bowl or the sink to drain.
  7. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook the bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until they just soften, about 2 minutes. Add them to the bowl with the noodles.
  8. Squeeze excess water from the greens with your hands and place them in the bowl with the noodles. Toss the vegetables and the noodles together with the garlic, soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce, sugar, etc. as desired. Set the noodles aside while you make the eggs.
  9. To serve: In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Pour in the egg yolks so that they cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer, and let them cook until they are set. Remove the omelet to a cutting board, roll, and slice into thin ribbons.
  10. Top the noodles and vegetables with the egg ribbons, sesame seeds, and sliced scallions, and serve immediately.