Since my daughters are foodies like their dad and I am, they enjoy going grocery shopping with me and like to offer suggestions about what I could make for dinner. So, it wasn’t surprising to me that my oldest daughter, who’s home from college on her Christmas break, started requesting a specific dish after I announced I’d be making a Korean dish for my recent #FoodieFriday post on Instagram.
I’d heard of bibimbap and bulgogi, but she encouraged me to try to make japchae, a dish that has become a favorite of hers in the past few months thanks to one of her apartment-mates, who’s a big fan of Korean food. For starters, this lovely young lady, who’s Italian, prepared japchae one night for dinner so my daughter could try it. My daughter liked it so much that she ordered japchae weeks later when they went to a Korean restaurant for lunch to celebrate the completion of their fall semester. These two experiences were enough to convince my daughter that I would also like it. So, I went with her suggestion. And, I’m really glad I did.
I have found quite a few recipes online for japchae and also asked my daughter how her roommate made her dish. However, as usual, I felt like all of the recipes either had more ingredients than I like to use when cooking or took a long time to prepare. As I’ve said before, I want the recipes that I share to make the task of cooking as easy as possible for busy parents. So, I sat down and tried to figure out a way to make this dish with as few ingredients as possible without compromising the flavor my daughter has come to enjoy so much. And, you know what? She and my youngest daughter loved it! (My hubby was out of town when I made it, so I’ll have to make it again soon so he can try it.)
If you’d like to see if this dish should be added to your family’s file of recipes, check out the below directions on how to make it. You’ll also find the list of ingredients that I used, as well as photos of some of the ingredients, below.
By the way, you should be able to find most of these ingredients at your local grocery store. However, I did have to go to Hmart, a Korean grocery store with locations in 12 different states, to purchase the noodles. If can’t find a particular ingredient at your favorite grocery store and don’t have an ethnic grocery store like Hmart near you, check to see if you can find it on Amazon. For example, you could find a variety of Korean noodles on Amazon. Please note that, if you click on a product link and order it through Amazon, I will earn income from qualifying purchases.
What You’ll Need To Make 15-Minute Beef Japchae (Six servings)
*4 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce (If you try to avoid using soy when cooking, you can use a “no-soy” soy sauce.)
*3 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
*3 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil
*3 Teaspoons of Roasted Sesame Seeds
*2 Teaspoons of Butter, Divided
*3/4 lb. Beef–I used a Boneless Rib Eye Steak, cut up into cubes
*1 Ounce of Dried, Sliced Shiitake Mushrooms, re-hydrated according to the package’s directions. This would be the equivalent of 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms.
*1 Cup of Shredded Carrots
*1 Cup of White Onion, chopped
*5 Ounces of Fresh Spinach
*5 Ounces Korean Vermicelli Noodles
15-Minute Beef Japchae
1. In a pot large enough to accommodate the vermicelli, bring water to a boil. Then, place the vermicelli into the boiling water and let it cook for approximately 5 minutes.
2. While the noodles are cooking, make your sauce. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds in a small bowl or measuring cup and mix all ingredients thoroughly until the brown sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
3. Once they are ready (e.g., translucent and limp), drain the noodles, rinse them in cold water, and drain them again. (You can cut the noodles in half with kitchen scissors before cooking them to make them easier to handle as you’re cooking. This will also make the dish easier to plate and eat.)
4. While the cooked noodles are still in the pot, pour 4 tablespoons of sauce over them and mix the sauce into the noodles thoroughly. Set aside.
5. Place the steak and re-hydrated (or fresh) mushrooms into a small bowl and drizzle 4 tablespoons of the sauce over these ingredients.
6. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Place the steak and the mushrooms into the skillet or wok and cook until the meat is cooked through (approximately 5 minutes), stirring frequently.
7. While the steak and mushrooms are cooking in the large skillet, melt the other teaspoon of butter over medium-high heat in a smaller skillet. Place the carrots and onion in this smaller skillet so that you can simultaneously be stir frying the carrots and onions. Cook this mixture until the onions are translucent (approximately 2 minutes).
8. Once the meat in the meat and mushroom mixture in the large skillet or wok (step #6) is cooked through, stir the spinach into it.
9. Then, transfer the carrot & onion mixture, along with the noodles, to the large skillet so that all of the ingredients will now be in the same pan. Drizzle the remainder of the sauce on top of the contents of the skillet, mix the ingredients again, and then stir fry them over medium-high to high heat for approximately 3 minutes.
10. Add salt to taste, if desired, and enjoy!