One of No. 1’s best friends growing up was a little Korean boy named Eugene. He was a good, polite boy and so smart. His mother was a sweet, soft-spoken woman who worked for a bank and who cooked wonderful Korean dishes. I love Korean food. I always wish I could’ve asked her to teach me how to make some of their dishes but the opportunity just never came up. Thankfully, the Bay Area abounds with Korean restaurants.
Whenever we go to a Korean restaurant, I always order Bulgogi – Korean barbecue beef. It’s my favorite and it always comes with a serving of these noodles on the side. Japchae is a Korean noodle dish made from sweet potato noodles called dangmyeon. It’s hugely popular in Korea. I love it. It’s delicious and a lot easier to make than it looks.
- ½ lb. rib eye steak
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. mirin
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- Slice steak very thinly. It’s easier to do this if steak is partially frozen.
- Combine ingredients for steak marinade in a small bowl.
- Add steak to marinade, stirring to coat well.
- Set aside to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Set aside until ready to use.
- 1 pkg. (500g) Korean sweet potato noodles
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
- ½ large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 ozs. fresh shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 4 ozs. spinach, washed and dried
- salt, to taste (optional)
- 1 green onion stalk, green part only, chopped
- 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- canola oil for frying
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- When water is boiling, add noodles and boil for 7-8 minutes or until cooked to desired tenderness.
- Drain into colander and run cold water over noodles to stop them from cooking.
- Snip noodles with kitchen scissors in a few places so they’re not too long.
- Set aside to drain well.
- If you want little strips of scrambled egg, beat the egg in a small bowl.
- Heat a teaspoon of canola oil in a wok or large frying pan.
- Pour in egg, swirling pan from side to side to spread thinly.
- Cook on one side, then flip over to cook other side.
- Remove from pan, slice into thin strips, and set aside.
- In same pan, stir fry marinated steak until just cooked.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- Stir fry carrots and onion until onion is translucent.
- Add mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes more.
- Add the spinach and toss to combine, cooking until slightly wilted.
- Return the meat to the pan, then add the noodles and sauce.
- Toss all together until heated through.
- At this point, taste noodles and season with salt if necessary.
- Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.
- Serve hot or cold. Can be reheated in the microwave.
- You can use any cut of well marbled meat if you don’t want to use rib eye. Just make sure to slice it very thinly.
- If you want to make this dish vegetarian, omit the beef entirely.
- If you can’t find fresh shitake mushrooms, you can substitute dried. Just soak them in a bowl of hot water for at least 30 minutes to reconstitute. Remove the mushrooms from the water, squeeze them a little bit to remove excess water, then trim off the tough stems and slice the caps thinly.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 2 days.