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Korean Dish: Japchae
Who said I cannot cook?
They said any travel experience is not complete without trying the local delicacies. I certainly do that to enjoy the most of my travel. However, I'm kind of picky on food and so I tend to really choose what I try when going places. I had a problem the last time I had shrimp burittos in Mexico, although, I promise, that burittos were to die for as well. One dish, I wouldn't have a problem is noodles. Any kind of noodles.
I have an adventurous soul except in cooking. So, if I may confess, I am not a good cook. However, when I do, I put my heart into it. One of my favorites is Korean dish like kimchi, dak-gui (grilled chicken) and noodles. Noodles, I love noodles and there are plenty of selections out there. Amongst my favorites is called Japchae (or chap chae).
Have you tried Japchae before?
What is Japchae?
Japchae is a famous festive Korean dish made of sweet potato noodles stir-fried with meat and loaded with colorful seasonal vegetables. I had my first taste of it when I was in Seoul, Korea few years ago and oh, for the love of noodles, I immediately fell in love with it. As I don’t eat red meat, I used chicken strips and shrimps instead. Actually, the vegetable is good enough for me.
As indicated at the back of the sweet potato noodles plastic bag, Japchae is easy to make. In fact, it only takes 30 minutes and voila, you have a delicious, nutritious and energy giving noodles on your plate. However, the secret to a really delicious Japchae is to cook all ingredients separately to develop the layers of flavor and then combine them all at the end to create a delicious and colorful dish.
First, what you need:
Sweet Potato noodles
Thinly sliced white onion
Dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water, sliced and stem removed)
Carrots cut into thin strips
Celery Stalks cut into small cubes
Red (or green) bell pepper
Parsley leaves or celery leaves(optional for garnish)
Scallion cut into 1-inch length
Sliced chicken or beef and shrimps (optional)
Salt to taste
Toasted white sesame
For the sauce: Soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds and sugar mixed all together
Note: Sweet potato noodles can be purchased from any Asian stores.
And, here's how to make it:
1. Par-boil the sweet potato noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 4-5 minutes. Drain the water and completely rinse the noodles under cold running water. Let it cool and set aside.
2. Heat up a pot of water and bring it to boil. Blanch the spinach until wilted (just around 1 minute). Drain the water and rinse the spinach under cold running water. Squeeze to drain completely.
3. Heat up the oil in a skillet or wok and quickly stir-fry garlic, onion, chicken (or beef), shrimp, mushroom, and carrot around two minutes. Add the scallion and cubes of celery. Stir-fry for another minute.
4. Turn the heat to low and add the noodles and spinach into the skillet or wok. Add the sesame oil, the Sauce, and salt (and a bit of pepper) to taste. Add the bell pepper last to keep it crunchy. Stir to combine well.
5. Plate and garnish with celery or parsley leaves and sprinkle with a bit more of the sesame seeds before serving.
What’s best about sweet potato noodles is that, it can be served either hot or cold or at room temperature, which I prefer. Japchae is so versatile. It can also be served as a first course or side dish or over a bed of rice to make it a main dish. I personally don't like it over a bed of rice (too much carbs). So, I'd accompany it with steamed dumplings instead or breaded fried chicken.
I have to let you know that I don’t measure my ingredients, as it all goes according to consumption and taste. Seasoning all depends on your taste, it can be seasoned along as you make it. I like mine spicy too, so I'd season it with crushed red pepper.
Have fun in the kitchen!
Health Check: Facts per Pack
You may also want to visit other recipes from my kitchen:
- No-bake, Low-fat Strawberry Cheesecake
Did you know? Strawberry lovers are noted to be health conscious, fun loving, intelligent and happy people?
- Royal Dessert - Spotted Dick Anyone?
Spotted Dick is a famous British dessert made of eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, milk and currant or raisins. Rich in calories. Made in heaven. Perfect with any kind of tea (or coffee).
Sweet potato noodle is made from the starch of sweet potato. If you are conscious about your diet or one who is counting calorie intake. Here’s the nutrition (Source:www.fatsecret.com) you get from sweet potato noodles as per 50 grams portion:
1. Calories: The sweet potato noodle is slightly lower in calories than the wheat-based noodle. A 50-g portion of sweet potato noodles contains 170 calories as against to having the same serving size of spaghetti noodles, which contains 186 calories. It is a low-energy dense food and to include a more low-energy dense foods in our diet can keep us feeling full on fewer calories. Therefore, making it easier to manage our weight.
2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates in food provide most of our daily calorie intake. It gives our body with its preferred source of energy. Sweet potato noodle is a high carbohydrate food. A 50-g serving contains 43 g of carbohydrates, meeting 14 percent of our daily value for carbohydrates. Again, by comparison, the spaghetti noodle contains 37 g of carbohydrates per 50-g serving.
3. Protein: Sweet potato is not a significant source of protein. It doesn’t have any. Therefore, protein from Japchae comes from the meat that we mixed when we stir-fry it.
4. Fat: Like Protein, fat is an essential nutrients our body needs. However, sweet potato noodles contain zero amount of fat. Again, the fat that we need for our body may be obtained from the meat mixed in the noodles.
5. Sodium: Sodium is an essential nutrient to help maintain fluid balance in our body but we only need a small amount of sodium to do this. Sweet potato is low in sodium, it only has 20 mg of sodium per serving of 50 grams. Please note that anything with less than 35 mg of sodium per serving is considered very low-sodium food.
So, bring on the chopsticks and enjoy!
Explore more of your Korean cooking with these collectible books:
Did you know?
Sweet potatoes were a main source of nourishment for soldiers during the Revolutionary War?
Copyright@ CrisSp~TM/04-2012. Fearless but not Heartless!
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© 2012 CrisSp