jap chae (jab chai, chop chae, jabchai...)

  • Currently 4/5
my new favorite thing to make and eat.  jap chae means "mixed and stirred" "vegetables" and it's an excellent way to eat your veggies. granted this can be time-consuming with the julienned vegetables and the Korean sweet potato starch-based glass noodle, dang myeon, is not easily found at the supermarket, but jap chae tastes and is sooooo good for you. it's even good cold, the next day.

also gluten-free for those looking to cut down on carbs or have issues with wheat. make sure that the soy sauce that you buy does not have wheat ingredients listed as some are grain-based. see Notes for more details.
1/2 lb (8 oz) dang myeon (Korean sweet potato glass noodles)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
5-7 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in a bowl of very hot water for 15-20 minutes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, julienned
2 scallions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bunch (1/2 lb) spinach (4 cups chopped)
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
2-inch piece ginger, finely grated or minced
1/2 tsp sambal oelek (or more if you want)
special equipment
benriner or mandoline
1. boil the noodles for approximately 3-5 minutes 'til al dente and translucent. drain and rinse with cold water 1-2 times. snip with shears or just tear apart with your hands to make them more manageable, if you like. toss with some sesame oil to keep them loose.
2. in a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients, stir and set aside.
3. in a small frying pan set on medium-high, add the sesame seeds and dry toast them. give it a shake every now and then to make sure that they don't get burned. shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes for it to be golden and fragrant. immediately, remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl.
4. reserve some of the mushroom soaking liquid to moisten dish if it gets too dry. drain mushrooms and as soon as it cools down, squeeze out excess liquid, cut off tough stems and slice caps into thin strips.
5. in a wok or large skillet heat up 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil until it gets hot; add onions and carrots. cook until onion is translucent.
6. add scallions and garlic and quickly stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. sprinkle on mushroom water if garlic starts to burn.
7. add spinach and cook just until it starts to wilt, stirring and tossing. sprinkle on some mushroom water if it gets too dry.
8. add sauce, sesame seeds and noodles and stir fry until noodles heated throughout and spinach is wilted but still bright green. serve hot or cold
San-J puts out a wheat-free (and Kosher) soy sauce: Tamari Soy Sauce, Wheat-free, Organic. La Choy is more accessible and also claims to only use soy in it's soy sauce, though the caramel colouring is suspect... here's a list of Gluten-Free soy sauces.

a benriner or mandoline is an invaluable tool, especially for this recipe. it juliennes or slices, thinly, uniformly and quickly so you have more time to eat rather than prep. the adjustable blades are super sharp so use with great care. chefs are known to wear wire-mesh gloves while using them.

Sambal Oelek
is a red chili paste that's a simple combination of chili and a tiny amount of vinegar. other chili paste also have garlic, like the smoother sauce that they usually have at your table in Chinese restaurants, affectionately referred to as cock sauce.

sub dang myeon with any other glass noodles, like bean threads which are mung bean based or just use rice vermicelli. if you can get dang myeon, please do. much thicker and chewier and soaks up the flavors so nicely. yum!

if you can find dried cloud ear or wood ear mushrooms, very nice in this dish, too. they add a nice crunchy, chewy texture.

sub bok choy or even Kale or collard greens for the spinach. kale and collard greens will need to pre-cooked first as they are a much...hardier green.

i really like ginger, so feel free to reduce the amount if you think it's too much. testing out when's the best time to add it: fried with garlic or added to sauce.

if you have access to the Korean chile paste gochujang, it's a nice condiment to add extra depth to this dish. sweeter than sambal oelek and with a fermented and complex tang. my mom loves this.

for extra protein:
- add egg strips (make a thin omelette, finely slice after cooled)
- thinly sliced fried tofu
Cuisine   KoreanDish   Main Dish
Cooking Method   Stir FryMain Ingredient   Vegetables
Style   One Dish Meals 
Features   Dairy-Free, High-Fiber, Low-Calorie, Low-Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat/Gluten-Free

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