Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)

Japchae is a popular Korean beef and vegetable noodle dish, made with dang myun (sweet potato noodles). Commonly served at Korean barbecue restaurants as a side dish, japchae is as colorful as it is tasty, usually being combined with a variety of sautéed vegetables. Because it can be served at room temperature, it is also popular at Korean potlucks and wedding buffets. What makes japchae unique is the translucent and chewy texture of the sweet potato noodles. The noodles are also a great alternative to wheat noodles for people who are gluten intolerant.

In this recipe, I use brisket, but you use any other cuts of beef like ribeye, short rib or filet. My mom always used brisket but never marinated it, so it was always a little tough. I created a marinade for this recipe with a little soy and sake and a sprinkling of baking soda to tenderize the beef. It is important to add the baking soda 15 minutes before cooking the meat, so that it doesn’t overtenderize. You to can easily omit beef and add more mushrooms instead to make it vegetarian – either way it will be a crowd pleaser! Enjoy!

 

Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)

 

Serving Size: 6 as a side dish

2 large eggs
Sunflower or other neutral oil
8 ounces of sweet potato noodles*
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/4″ strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces of sliced fresh shiitake or button mushroom
1 cup of carrots (2 carrots), julienned into 1/4″ thin and 2″ long
6 ounces of marinated brisket (see below for marinade)
3 green onion (cut into 2″ pieces)
8 oz of organic spinach (not baby spinach) blanched for 30 seconds
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds*
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste

*Note: Be sure to follow the marinated brisket instructions below prior to starting the recipe

1. Crack the 2 eggs in a medium bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt. Whisk well.

2. Heat a small, non-stick pan over medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Pour about half the egg mixture into the pan, swirling to make a thin egg crepe. Cook for about 1 minute. Flip over and cook for 30 more seconds. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining egg mixture.

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3. Once on the cutting board, fold into thirds like an omelette. Cut into half an inch strips. Place egg strips on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until ready to use.

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4. Bring 5 quarts of water to boil. Add the sweet potato noodles. Cook for about 6 minutes (you can also follow the cooking instructions on the package.). Drain and rinse with cold water. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. Set aside.

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5. Remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator. Sprinkle with baking soda and stir. Set aside.

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6. Heat large a cast iron pan or wok over high. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add the carrots and pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

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7. In the same pan, add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

8. In the same pan on high heat, cook the beef until just brown. Don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. Remove and set aside. Wipe the bottom of pan with a paper towel.

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9. In same pan, heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Sauté the onions and garlic for about for about 3 minutes or until the onions get translucent.

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10. Add the cooked carrots, mushrooms and beef back into the pan. Add the spinach and green onions. Sauté everything for 30 seconds. Add the cooked noodles, soy sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and several turns of black pepper.

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11. With tongs or large chopsticks, toss the noodles with all the ingredients over medium heat. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

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12. Finally, add the sliced egg crepe and gently toss gently to distribute evenly.

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13. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle additional sesame seed and serve.

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Marinated Brisket

6 ounces of grass-fed brisket
2 teaspoons of organic soy sauce
1 teaspoon of rice wine (sake)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda

1. Slice the brisket against the grain into thin strips. You want the strips to be about 2 inches long.

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2. Whisk the remainder of the ingredients except for the baking soda in small bowl. (Save the baking soda for 15 minutes before you cook.)

3. Placed the sliced beef in the bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

*You can find toasted sesame seeds and dang myun at your local Korean supermarket.

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