Jap Jae is one of my favorite Korean dishes. Well, okay one of many favorite dishes!
I have always wanted to know how to make it and well I just figured it out today. Due to my culinary skills and keen palette I was able to recreate this lovely noodle dish. My friend, Ms. Oh also helped me a while ago by telling me what the ingredients were.
It's fairly simple, but the key is to find the correct noodles which one can find in Korean grocery stores or most larger Asian supermarkets. If you go into a Korean store just ask for the noodles to make jap jae and they will know what you're talking about. Plus a lot of the packages have a picture of a sweet potato on the package or a picture of the finished dish. So it's fairly easy if you don't read Hangul (Korean language).
They are made from sweet potato flour and cook up clear. I love eating them because they are springy and a bit...well...rubbery, but a good rubbery!
Korean Jap Jae
1 Large package (400) Korean Starch Noodle (Korean vermicelli, sweet potato starch)
Large amount of fresh spinach (I bought one bag but would like two bags next time)
1 large carrot (julienned)
1 medium white onion (julienned)
1 Bundle green onions (use as many or as little as you'd like. I used 6)
2 Cloves garlic, crushed and minced
Fresh mushrooms (any kind you like)
Dry shitake mushrooms, rehydrated and wring out water
1 lb. beef, (julienned into about 1 inch strips, cut it while it's slightly frozen)
Salt and pepper
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the noodles and another pot of water to wilt the spinache. Do all of your prep work first while you are boiling the water for the noodles. Cut up the carrots, white onion, green onion, and garlic. Marinade the beef with the garlic, 1 Tbl of soy sauce, sprinkle about 1/2 Tbl sugar and mix well then set aside.
Boil the noodles. This will take about 5 minutes or so. They will turn clear and feel like soft little rubber bands. Not very appetizing huh? Try one you will find that they are quite good! You'll know when it's done when you can chew it with ease. Drain the noodles and place in a very large bowl. Drizzle sesame oil and a little soy sauce on top and toss to coat. Set this aside to cool. Cut up the noodles with scissors. Korean use scissors all of the time while cooking. They are handy little buggers. Cut into manageable lengths. It's not rocket science, just so you don't have extremely long noodles but not super small.
Wilt the spinach in the boiling water for a minute and drain and rinse in cold water. Squeeze out as much water as you can and put this in the bowl with the noodles.
Heat a bit of olive oil and saute the carrots just a bit and then add the onion. You don't want to overcook this. Throw this onto the top of the spinache and noodles in the bowl. In the same pan heat a bit more oil and cook the beef and garlic, add the mushrooms and cook until they are just cooked. Throw this on the top of the noodles too.
Drizzle more sesame oil and soy sauce on top the the veggie, meat, mushroom, spinace and noodle pile and sprinkle a little more sugar on top. Not too much. About 2 tsp or less. With clean hands, and BE CAREFUL, toss until all coated.
I like my jap jae a bit on the dry side but you could add a bit of beef broth if you wanted to make it a bit more moist. Season to taste with black pepper and a teeny bit of salt. Remember, the soy sauce is practically all salt! You can eat it right a way or store it over night and like most noodle dishes get better as they sit. This makes a large quantity so it's good for sharing or eat it all yourself!