Made from sweet potato starch, these dense and chewy “glass” noodles easily absorb the sweet soy and sesame oil sauce. The seasoned transparent noodles are tossed with a variety of vegetables and meat in this Korean classic.
Glass Noodles with Beef and Vegetables (Japchae)
By Taekyung Chung & Debra Samuels, The Korean Table
1/4 lb (100 g) sirloin beef tips or rib eye steak, cut into matchstick strips
5 oz (150 g) dried Korean vermicelli noodles (about half a package)
1/2 lb (250 g) spinach (half bunch)
2 tablespoons canola, safflower or other neutral oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick strips
3 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in water and cut into matchstick strips
1 tablespoon dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in water and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, plus more for drizzling
5 tablespoons Sweet Soy Base Sauce
1 tablespoon Roasted Sesame Seeds
Fine-grain sea salt or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Sweet Soy Base Sauce
1 tablespoon minced green onion (scallion)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
In a small bowl, add the beef and the marinade ingredients. Toss the beef stips until thoroughly coated. Let the beef marinate while preparing the other ingredients.
Place the dried noodles in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Pour 4 cups (1 liter) of boiling water over the noodles and let soften, about 8 minutes. Drain the noodles. Cut the noodles in half with scissors and set aside. If they get sticky just give them a quick rinse with warm water.
Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the neutral-flavored oil and place over medium heat. Stir-fry the onion, carrot and mushrooms separately, seasoning each with a pinch of salt. Add additional oil to the skillet as needed. Place each vegetable, when done, into a large serving bowl.
In the same skillet, add the beef and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add to the serving bowl.
To the skillet, add the 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and the 5 tablespoons of Sweet Soy Base Sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the softened cellophane noodles and mix well. The noodles will become transparent. Turn off the heat.
Add the noodles to the serving bowl along with the cooked vegetables and beef. Add the Roasted Sesame Seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil. Toss until the ingredients are distributed. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.