I’ll soon be heading home for the summer now I’ve finished my exams, with university term officially ending in a week and a half. I’ve been gradually trying to reduce my food supplies so I don’t have to cart too much home and don’t have repeats of everything in my home kitchen.
A quick rummage in my pantry staples turned out a bag of mysterious noodles. The writing on the package was all in Japanese and I vaguely remembered having bought them in the Japan Centre on a visit probably a year ago! I think I thought they were rice vermicelli and planned to use them in a cold noodle salad or rice paper rolls. But, when I opened up the package they didn’t look at all as expected so I decided to rethink my cooking plans. Turns out they were harusame (Japanese name) , dangmyeon (Korean name), or potato starch noodles.
A search for recipes led me to this vegetarian Japchae at Herbivoracious.
“Japchae(chapchae)is a Korean dish made from potato starch noodles, stir fried in sesame oil with various vegetables and flavoured with soy sauce, and sweetened with sugar. It’s usually served garnished with sesame seeds ” (Wikipedia tells me so…)
Everyone knows stir-fry is a student staple- cheap, healthy, quick + cheap so this seemed just the ticket.
It was very simple to make, using the traditional stir-fry method of cutting all your vegetables before you start cooking as it’s very quick to come together. Unlike most stir-fry dishes I’ve made in the past, this one called for stir-frying each ingredient separately which made a huge difference in preserving the flavour and colour of the vegetables- definitely a tip I’ll be reusing.
You could make this with any veg but I stuck to the listed: onion, spinach, carrots, red bell pepper, shitake mushrooms (I would say the mushrooms are essential as they really add a great texture). I didn’t have any tofu to hand so I omitted it but next time I’d add it for a more substantial meal.
Have you had japchae before? Or used potato starch noodles? I have half a packet left so I’m looking for another recipe.