It’s so funny that when I tell people I have a food blog, they assume that:
a) I make elaborate weeknight dinners (and host multi-course dinner parties),
b) I seek out strange and obscure dishes at restaurants,
c) I’m often cook new and interesting dishes.
The reality is often less glamorous as I have my usual rotation of weeknight meals. It changes here and there but my foolproof, go-to meals are fried rice, stir-fry, simple pastas, and vegetable soups. Sounds simple, right? It is, because like most of you, I don’t have the mental energy or want to eat dinner at 9pm on weeknights. Confession: when it’s super busy at work, I rely on the frozen foods section of Trader Joe’s for my dinners (I love their mushroom risotto and margherita pizza).
Japchae can be an easy weeknight dinner with some careful planning/prep the night before. I recently took some over for a dinner party and my friends really enjoyed it. I haven’t made it in awhile and surprised me how simple it was once I chopped and cooked the veggies the night before. FYI–the pictures you see are from the second time I made it (sans beef and ‘shrooms) but these ingredients really make the dish so don’t skimp 🙂
Hope you make it for the loved ones in your life! It’s worth the effort and chopping. Btw, the sauce measurements are estimates. Just like your umma, I eyeball it and season to taste for that balance of soy sauce and sweetness from the sugar.
Japchae (Korean noodles w/beef and veggies) adapted from Korean Bapsang blog
6 oz. Korean sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon)
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms (I used crimini), 1/4″ slices
6 oz. bulgogi (Korean marinated ribeye)
1 small carrot, chopped into thin matchsticks (julienned)
1 small yellow onion, 1/4″ slices
2 green onions, sliced on diagonal, 1″ pieces
2 eggs, beaten
4 TB soy sauce
3 TB sugar
2 1/2 sesame oil
2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 TB toasted sesame seeds
1. Boil noodles in a large pot for about 6-7 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water and cut so they’re not too long (and hard to serve).
2. If you’re adding egg, on a lightly oiled frying pan, cook the egg like an omelette on medium low heat. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes and slice into strips. Saute all the veggies separately. Start w/cooking the onions with 1 tsp of veggie oil and salt + pepper until lightly cooked (like a stir-fry) and still crunchy. Add the green onions toward the end (since they cook quickly). Repeat this process w/carrots, spinach (I used sesame oil), mushrooms, and bulgogi at the end. When the bulgogi is cooled, slice into thin strips. Set aside. Tip: This step can be done the night before.
3. In a small bowl, mix all your ingredients for the sauce until the sugar dissolves.
4. In the large pot, add back the drained noodles and on low heat, mix 3 TB of sauce into the noodles until warmed through. Turn off the heat, add the remaining sauce and beef/veggies. Check for flavor. Does it have the right amount of sweet and saltiness? Add more sugar, soy sauce, or sesame oil depending on the missing flavor(s). When it tastes just right, sprinkle sesame seeds and black pepper.
Great at room temp or the next day for lunch. Mmmm.. your coworkers will be jealous 🙂