Its original, literal meaning is 'mixed vegetables', but japchae is now made with sweet-potato noodles and incorporates a range of delicious flavours.
Japchae literally means 'mixed vegetables' in Korean, which is the food culture from which this distinctive dish originally derives.
However, along the way during the recipe's history, it also incorporated a noodle element – to be precise, glass noodles made from sweet-potato starch.
These have a slightly sweet taste and an ultrasmooth texture that brilliantly set off the savoury flavours of the ribeye steak and the variety of fresh flavours of the vegetables used in this version.
- 300g sweet potato noodles
- 2T extra virgin olive oil
- 400g ribeye steak, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 brown onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1½T light soy sauce
- 1½T dark soy sauce
- 1T sesame oil
- 1t fish sauce
- 1t caster sugar
- 1T toasted sesame seeds
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the steak and cook for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat with the remaining oil.
Add the garlic, onion, carrot, red pepper and mushrooms.
Cook for 8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, but not mushy. Add the spinach and cook for another minute.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the soy sauces, sesame oil, fish sauce and sugar. Set aside.
Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and add the steak, noodles and soy sauce mixture.
Add the sesame seeds and reserved cooking liquid if needed, and toss to serve.