Beef and vegetables with sesame glass noodles, or japchae, is easily one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea, it is easy to make, healthy and packed full of flavour from the soy sauce and sesame soaked noodles. Traditionally, japchae is eaten on holidays and special occasions, but you will find it in practically every Korean restaurant these days. The Korean glass noodles used here are made from sweet potato starch, and have a delicious chewiness to them. While they are undoubtedly the best choice, you could also use any glass noodle available in your local supermarket.
– 4 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra to season
– 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil, plus extra to season
– 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
– large pinch of black pepper
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– 150g beef, very thinly sliced
– 1 egg, beaten and seasoned with a pinch of sea salt
– 200g spinach
– 10 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
– 200g carrots, sliced into thin julienne strips
– ½ onion, sliced thinly
– 240g sweet potato glass noodles or glass noodles
– 1 tsp black or toasted white sesame seeds
– 1 red chilli, thinly sliced, to garnish (optional)
– sunflower oil, for frying
In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, honey, pepper and garlic. In a separate bowl, place 2 tablespoons of the mixture with the sliced beef, combine and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Set aside the remaining mixed sauce.
In the meantime, add a drizzle of sunflower oil to a frying pan and place over a medium heat. Add the beaten egg and fry gently for a couple of minutes on each side, until set, taking care not to colour it too much. Remove from the pan and cool, then slice into 3 equal lengths, lay each piece on top of the other and cut them into julienne strips. Set aside.
Rinse the spinach, then put it straight into a large empty pan on a high heat. Turn the spinach as it wilts down, this will only take a couple of minutes. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and gently press the remaining water out of it, then place it on a plate while still warm and season with ½ a teaspoon each of sesame seed oil and soy sauce. Set aside.
In the same pan, add in 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and stir-fry the mushrooms, carrots and onion over a high heat for 3 – 4 minutes, until slightly softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and season with 1 teaspoon each of soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Finally add in the beef and fry over a high heat for 2 – 3 minutes until cooked.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the noodles and cook for 7 – 8 minutes until tender. Drain the noodles fully and then return them to the pan with the remaining mixed sauce from earlier. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until the noodles have soaked up all the sauce. Turn off the heat and add all of the cooked vegetables and the beef, and half of the sliced egg. Gently combine everything together then place into bowls with the remaining sliced egg on top. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds and, if using, chilli. Serve immediately.
Our recommended Wine Pairing for this Recipe
Leyda Falaris Chardonnay €17.99
On the nose this wine expresses a refinement with elements of a fresh sea breeze, citrus notes along with mineral and yellow fruit characteristics.
The palate offers a smooth creamy body which is lively due to the crisp acidity. Add some citrus and light leafy notes with the mineral tone, a flicker of salinity and a delicate touch of oak you have one great wine.
The creaminess of this wine will work with the fresh flavours of the broth but it will also have enough weight to match with the beef.
Available from O’Brien’s Wines Nationwide or Online.
This recipe is from Our Korean Kitchen, written by critically acclaimed food writer Jordan and his Korean wife Rejina, a collection of classic and well-loved Korean dishes. Jordan Bourke is the author of the well-received The Guilt-Free Gourmet cookbook. He was named the winner of the K-Food Festival, a competition searching for the UK’s best Korean chef, and has travelled extensively in Korea, learning from a number of its well-respected chefs. Jordan’s wife, Rejina Pyo is an eminent fashion designer and proud of her culinary heritage. She helped introduce Jordan to authentic Korean ingredients and flavour.