Gotta love a gluten free pasta dish!! Noodles used in Japchae are called cellophane or glass noodles. Just in case this article inspires you to hit up your nearest Asian store, the noodles are called dangmyeon. This dish is a staple in Korea and the noodles in it are made of… wait for it…………………………………………..sweet potato starch:) And yep… when cooked they actually look like strands of glass! How cool is that? Pretty and gluten trimming all in one mouthful!
Personally I think they’re amazing and that’s why some are boiling right now. Can you smell them yet? No? Wait until I start chopping the garlic and onions that go with them… some butter.. sesame oil…not sure what else I’m gonna throw in the mix today…maybe some greens…
See that’s the thing with Japchae, practically anything and everything goes with them. OK maybe that’s stretching it. I wasn’t very fond of my coconut oil experiment. But in some ways they really are the polyester pantsuit in the pasta parade…totally the wash and wear noodle in my pantry. You can use it to make an easy peasy stirfry and it’s also good at pretending it’s a Thai dish. If you want to try an authentic Korean style Japchae make sure to include sesame seeds, sesame oil, thinly sliced carrots, onion, spinach and mushrooms. It’s usually seasoned with soy sauce and sugar and garnished with sesame seeds and slivers of chili. Wowza! Now you can eat your pasta and have your vegetables too!
So here’s the deal with Japchae….the word is based on two different syllables. One syllable means mixed or stirred, the other means vegetables. This idea of mixing is not only a big deal in Korean cooking but Koreans have a precedent of assimilating other cultures into their own, much like America’s melting pot history…until the dictatorship of communism began tyrannizing the folks of North Korea.
Here are 11 other top Korean dishes most enjoyed by non-Koreans.
One more tidbit…as you look at the climate of political activism regarding immigration vetting in the United States…and your compassion is stirred…to do something…anything! As you think about people who would benefit from and not harm the melting pot of America…as you consider the plight of true refugees around the world who truly want a haven… not an Islamic heaven… please don’t forget about the suffering folks in North Korea.