Sunday, September 1, 2013

Vegan Mofo #2 - Jessie’s Japchae (Sesame Noodles)...

Vegan Mofo #2 - Jessie’s Japchae (Sesame Noodles) 

The Region - Korea
The Book - VegNews Magazine August 2013 Edition
The Author - Jessie Miner
The Recipe - Japchae (Sesame Noodles)
Page #75
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - Roughly 25-30 minutes depending on how fast you chop.

Earlier when I was talking about the Ddukbokki I mentioned that the latest copy of VegNews Magazine also had a recipe for a Korean dish called Japchae. The minute I saw it I knew I’d have to make it as my husband and I are both fans of noodles, and I especially like sesame noodles. Unlike Ddukbokki I had actually heard of Japchae before but had never actually eaten it and so I was really intrigued by the dangmyeon noodles. These are noodles made from sweet potato, and they kind of look like glass noodles or rice noodles, but instead of being clear or white they have a greyish appearance. Even though they may be a little hard for some of you to locate I think they’re definitely worth seeking out. The texture and flavor of them is so wonderful. Of course if you absolutely don’t have access to a Korean or good All purpose Asian market then you could sub rice or glass noodles instead.

Interestingly Japchae has been around since the 17th century and was originally invented to please the King as he hosted a large party. The original dish was made of thinly sliced and shredded vegetables with mushrooms and didn’t contain noodles. In fact it wasn’t until the 20th century that noodles were added to the dish and Japchae became known as what it is today.  Though noodle Japchae is the most common variety found in Korean restaurants apparently you can still find the original noodleless variety in some places. The dish was also originally vegetarian as it contained no meat but over time that has changed and you can now commonly get beef or fish japchae. Still many street vendors in Korea sell veggie Japchae using a host of fresh seasonal produce.

This particular version uses the dangmyeon noodles with soy sauce, sugar, toasted sesame oil, grapeseed oil, onion, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, spinach, scallions, pepper, and sesame seeds. It comes together quick and easy in minutes. The majority of your time is spent cutting and prepping veg, cooking time is limited to about 10 minutes. Really this is a fantastic dish with great flavor, although for my taste I thought 4 C of Shiitake mushrooms was bit too much. My husband - ever a mushroom lover - loved it, but I’m a little less excited about eating tons of mushrooms and so next time I think I’ll use 2 and a half cups instead. Otherwise this dish was perfect, and I’m really getting a hankering for Korean food now that I’ve tried these two fantastic dishes.

I think Vegan Mofo is getting off to a great and delicious start!


  1. Glad you enjoyed my "Seoul Eats" High-Tech Chef column in the July+August issue of VegNews Magazine. Thanks for the great review, and gorgeous photos, of my japchae recipe. Definitely of our family favorites. Of course I'm with your husband regarding the mushrooms. :)

  2. I really did enjoy your column, the recipes were outstanding and it inspired me to make Korean food which I might not have done otherwise. I love trying new things.

    Haha.. you know I used to be a total mushroom hater, there was a time where I wouldn't even eat one, so i'm getting better about it, but can still be picky about the stronger tasting mushrooms such as Shiitake.

    Perhaps one day, i'll get over this aversion completely =)

    Thanks again for the inspiration!