Korean Inspired Noodles
When I lived in Downtown Los Angeles, I would frequently get my groceries from the Little Tokyo Market on Fourth and Alameda. At one of the delis there, they had a cold version of the Korean noodle dish Japchae, and for today’s recipe I decided to make my own. Japchae is made with a soybean thread noodle, which is similar to but not the same as the glass noodles I often use in my Thai dishes.
For this recipe, I opted to make a vegetarian Japchae, so I doubled up on the amount of mushrooms to account for my lack of protein. Feel free to add sliced chicken or ground pork or tofu to yours. I used two types of shiitake mushrooms in this meatless Japchae: dried and fresh. I find that dried shiitake mushrooms, when rehydrated overnight, give off an earthy, meaty texture that I like so much when I have a traditional Japchae. If you opt for rehydrating dried shiitake mushrooms, try using my technique or using an empty quart container to make sure the entire fungus is submerged overnight. I hope you enjoy making this Korean noodle goodness!
Boil a pot of water and cook the entire package of noodles for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Prepare sauce by combining minced garlic, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds and stir until sugar is dissolved.
In a large wok with oil on medium heat, cook sliced mushrooms and onions. Add a pinch of salt to the mushroom while cooking.
Add sliced bell pepper, carrot, then spinach and stir-fry until the spinach begins to wilt.
Add noodles and sauce and toss thoroughly, then remove from heat. Serve hot or cold.