Japchae at Home
I love Japchae. The clear yam noodles have such a satisfying texture and really soak up the seasonings nicely. I had only ever eaten japchae at Korean restaurants until a friend gifted me a pack of yam noodles and I needed to figure out how to make it at home. Voila!
1 package sweet potato noodles
1 bag baby spinach
1 package simple seasoned tofu (or TJ’s sriracha tofu, or any seasoned tofu)
1 sweet onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
5 dried shitakes, rehydrated and sliced (can use fresh)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 a small purple cabbage, sliced
2 scallions, sliced into matchsticks
optional: add more of your favorite veggies like snap peas, broccoli, kale….
For the sauce:
5 T soy sauce or tamari
,2 T brown sugar, or coconut sugar
1 T toasted sesame oil (or you can skip it and just toss in 1-3 T toasted sesame seeds, and you can ground them up a little to get more of the flavor out. Or you can use just a few drops of the oil, because a little goes a long way).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, cook your tofu:
Heat a wide non-stick skillet to medium high. Slice and pat your tofu to remove excess water. Once the pan is hot (if you sprinkle a few drops of water in the pan they should pearl up and sizzle) add your tofu slices and cook several minutes until they start to get golden then flip, cook a few minutes more. Drizzle (or spritz tamari, soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos on the tofu with a little date or male syrup and agave, a cook a few more minutes. Flip and drizzle again, cook a few more minutes then flip, shut off heat and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
*How to blanch your spinach:
Prepare a pot of ice water and prepare a bowl of ice water. Add your spinach to your pot of boiling water and use a utensil to submerge it in the water so it is completely covered. Then remove it with a slotted spoon or tongs and immediately put it in the ice water. Place in a strainer and squeeze the water out with your hands.
Cook your noodles according to the package, rinse with cool water, drain and toss with a a few drops toasted sesame oil to prevent sticking (or use a little veggie broth for oil-free). Blanch and squeeze spinach. Heat a large wok or wide pan and sauté onions and garlic one minute. Add the rest of the raw veggies and cook a several more minutes, sprinkling in some veggie broth when needed to prevent sticking. You can put a lid on and let them steam slightly, then take the lid off and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Add noodles, tofu, spinach and sauce, cook until heated through and sauce is absorbed. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, and sliced scallions.
For the easy tofu: