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Korean Dish: Japchae

Updated on November 24, 2014
CrisSp profile image

CrisSp is your Emergency Specialist at 37 Thousand feet. Domestic Diva depending on the mood. Surely, wonderwoman consumed by wanderlust!

Korean Dish: Japchae
Korean Dish: Japchae | Source
Japchae with sesame seed oil
Japchae with sesame seed oil | Source

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?

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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.

Sweet Potato Noodles for Japchae
Sweet Potato Noodles for Japchae | Source
Sweet Potato Noodles
Sweet Potato Noodles | Source
Mixed vegetables
Mixed vegetables | Source

First, what you need:

Sweet Potato noodles

Sesame oil

Minced garlic

Thinly sliced white onion

Dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water, sliced and stem removed)

Spinach

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!

Noodlelicious~

Japchae
Japchae | Source

Health Check: Facts per Pack

Dangmyeon-Sweet Potato Noodles
Dangmyeon-Sweet Potato Noodles | Source

Nutritional Value:

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!

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!

Watch and enjoy!

© 2012 CrisSp

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    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Ummm, looks so awesomelicious and yummy! I think I have tried this noodle dish or perhaps similar to it, but I never thought it was a sweet potato noodle. Looks like vermicelli, doesn't it? I will buy a pack on my next trip to the Asian market. Voted! Cheers!

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      coffeegginmyrice, Thank you for voting and for leaving a comment. It is indeed, delicious and as I said, I like this noodle because it is very versatile: hot, cold, appetizer, salad and main dish. What else can you ask for but truly enjoy it.

    • profile image

      Den 5 years ago

      I will try this, though it's hard to find that sweet potatoe noodles. Vermicelli can be an option, process of cooking this is the same as our pansit bihon gisado, except that it has no soy sauce., or the chow mei fun of Chinese.

      I love Korean food,that's why Im giving you a five star rating for this...

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Thank you for your comments Den. I'm sure you'd be able to get the sweet potato noodles from the Korean store. You are right, it is very similar to bihon guisado and chow mein except that this can be served hot or cold. Happy cooking and eating! (:

    • najordan89 profile image

      najordan89 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Everything here looks great! I've never seen anyone use celery stalks or red pepper in jabchae before. Neither have I seen someone use chicken or shrimp, just the traditional beef! But that's the joy of cooking. Taking things and making it your own!

      I can already imagine what this will taste like in my mouth. :) So delicious!

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Najordan89, Thank you for your comments. As mentioned in the hub, I don't eat beef and so I experimented with chicken and shrimp, which turned out really great for personal consumption. Lol! And as you said, the joy of cooking! :)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi CrisSp... can I bring my own spoon... This look awesome. We have a Vietnamese restaurant in Calgary that loads up on all kinds of Noodle. The owner Hung always insists on personally cooing my soups. They are awesome... OK pass the dish and several napkins...

      Hugs and Love from Alberta

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Of course Rolly, you're very much welcome. Join me indulge in this savour-licious dish. Kidding aside, thank you. Always a pleasure to see you pop by.

      Love from the sky~

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I want sweet potato noodles. I didn't know they existed until now. We have a few Asian stores in downtown Orlando, I'm going to have to take a short road trip soon. Your recipe is my kind of meal!

      I recently found out that sweet potatoes are high in potassium. Go figure! I love learning something new! Yummy hub!!!

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Sunshine dear, glad you like it. I hope you try it soon. As I said, one thing I like with this noodle (Japchae) is that it can be eaten hot or cold and it's still yummy! Happy thoughts on your way...thanks for stopping by.

    • dis-cover profile image

      Nikolic Predrag 3 years ago from Serbia, Belgrade

      CriSp, I love Asian food and I love cooking too. It's my passion. It was such an adventure here in Belgrade to find Sweet Potato Noodles, but I did it. Japchae is tomorrow on my table. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe with us.

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      dis-cover: Hello and thank you for stopping by. My pleasure to share. Let me know how you like it. Perhaps, you can create your own version and share it with us. Enjoy! :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      This dish sounds delicious! Like you, I am also a fan of noodles. I have never tried sweet potato noodles...but I would like to! :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      This sounds wonderful! Although I might skip the meat! I will have to find these noodles!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This sound and looks wonderful Cris. I love sweet potato so sure I woud love these noodles. I haven't heard or tasted "japchae" before but used to have Korean homestay students at our home and have eaten "kimchi" on numerous occasions. I will have to look for these noodles in the Asian section of the supermarket. Your recipe looks delicious.

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Sunshine625: Hello Linda! Thank you for stopping by here and for sharing this hub. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this noodles and it's also fun to make. Cheers!

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      AudreyHowitt: I'm pretty sure you'll find this noodles in any Asian Stores. You could absolutely omit the meat. I sometimes prepare mine the vegetarian way. Cheers!

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Jodah: Thank you. Happy to see you in my kitchen...:) I'm positive, you'll enjoy this meal.

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