A simplified version of a delicious and healthy dish
Based on a traditional dish called japchae, this Korean-inspired stir fry is a flavourful meal that the whole family will likely enjoy. Gluten-free sweet potato noodles are reminiscent of rice vermicelli but I find they have a little more flavour. You can find them at most Asian markets, plus many large grocery stores carry them now in their ethnic foods section. The authentic Korean version takes much longer to prepare but this simplified version still captures the essence of what is a very popular, healthy, hearty dish. While beef is most commonly used, you could easily substitute chicken, shrimp or cubed firm tofu. While I adore this dish hot out of the wok, it is also pretty tasty at room temperature, which is how it’s often served in Korea.
- 6 ounces Korean sweet potato starch vermicelli *
- 1/4 pound sirloin steak, sliced into 2-inch strips
- 1/2 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
- 1/2 cup sliced sweet onion
- 1/2 cup each julienned carrots, English cucumbers and red pepper
- 1 cup chopped arugula, spinach or bok choy
- Canola or vegetable oil, for stir frying
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (for garnish)
* Most sweet potato vermicelli comes in 400 gram (14 ounce) packages; 6 ounces is just under half a package
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons rice wine (sake) or white wine
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons finely minced gingerroot
- 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- Prepare sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Put sliced beef in a broad, shallow dish and drizzle 2 – 3 tablespoons of the sauce over the beef, tossing to coat. Set aside.
- Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water, adjusting noodles as needed so they are completely covered. Let soak while you cook the beef and vegetables.
- While noodles are soaking, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the marinated been and stir fry, flipping meat often (I find tongs really helpful when stir frying) until cooked, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove beef to a clean bowl and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok. Working with vegetables from firmest to softest, add the carrots first and stir fry for 2 minutes, tossing often with tongs or chopsticks. Add the onions and cook 2 minutes more. Add the peppers and mushrooms and cook for two minutes, continuing to toss the vegetables. Cover with a lid and let cook 2 minutes.
- Return beef to pan and combine well with vegetables. Add well-drained noodles and toss to combine, then drizzle remaining sauce over top. Stir fry for 3 minutes until noodles are warm and well-coated with sauce. Add greens and stir fry 1 minute longer until greens are wilted.
- Transfer mixture to two warmed bowls and top with sliced green onions.
Makes 2 generous servings; can easily be doubled or tripled.