Japchae is a Korean noodle dish that you can make as simple or as complicated as you want. I chose to go simple last night and used shiitake mushrooms, scallions, and bean sprouts as my accompaniment to the bean threads. Bean threads are also known as Chinese vermicelli, glass noodles, cellophane noodles, crystal noodles and more. They are sold in a dry form and then boiled to reconstitute them to use in stir fries, soups, or spring rolls. When cooked, they become almost clear, glass-like. They don’t have any taste on their own, but they absorb the flavors of the other ingredients.
shiitake and scallion japchae
- 1 bunch bean threads
- 8-10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced in 1/4-inch strips
- 1 scallion, sliced in 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 red chilis, seeded and sliced thinly
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tbsp soy sauce, divided
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
Place your bean threads in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit for 20-30 minutes in the hot water. In a pot, boil the mushrooms for one minute, drain and squeeze out the excess liquid. Add about a tablespoon of oil to your frying pan and sauté the garlic and chilis for about 1 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of the soy sauce and the sugar and continue to stir fry the garlic and chilis. Add the shiitake mushrooms and stir fry for another minute, coating them in the sugar and soy mixture. Add the noodles to the pan and the rest of the soy sauce and mirin. (You can add another tbsp of sugar instead of mirin if your grocery doesn’t carry it). Coat the noodles completely in the soy sauce mixture. Add the scallions, bean sprouts, and sesame seeds to the pan and stir fry for a few more minutes until the scallions and bean sprouts are cooked to your liking — I like mine on the al dente side. Serves 2.