Made with dangmyeon, japchae is an exotic dish in Korean cuisine
Japchae will take your love for noodles to the next level. A native of Korean cuisine, these are made of sweet potato. To define it in simple terms, japchae is a flavourful stir-fried glass noodles prepared with dangmyeon, a variant of cellophane noodles made out of sweet potatoes. These are often tossed with an array of vegetables, shrooms, and sauces, especially rich soy sauce. Many households in Korea make japchae in their kitchen using sweet potatoes. These are healthy, tasty, and filling noodles compared to many other variants.
Here are few interesting facts about japchae and its cooking methods.
Taste and texture
Since the base uses sweet potato starch, these glass noodles have a chewy texture upon cooking. They will woo you with their looks and exotic texture. These noodles are also porous and absorb the sauces well in which they are cooked. These glass noodles are unusual, thanks to their squishy nature. It is different from other Asian noodles made of egg, flour, and oil mixture. Dang myun or dangmyeon, which means sweet potato vermicelli in Korean, is a part of history related to the entry of this root vegetable to Korea. The sweet potato was introduced to Korea in the middle of the 18th Century to ease famine. Ever since it has occupied a prominent place in Korean cuisine. Dang myun has a greyish, almost purple hue; upon freshly cooked, they are translucent.
To add more nutrition
Ideally, one serving of japchae consists of a 1:1 ratio, i.e., one portion of noodles and the same portion of toppings (veggies and other healthy ingredients). This, in a way, says you aren't overloading yourself with noodles alone.
These glass noodles give the cook to add a high nutrient value by stir-frying them with carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, spinach, and tofu. This makes it vegan as well. Including these veggies makes japchae enriched with fibre, vitamin C, protein, beta-carotene, and antioxidants.
A bowl of japchae, Image Source: mynotsodutchkitchen
How to cook them
Ideally, the noodles should be cooked in boiling water for not more than five minutes. If you are using a packaged one, you may follow the instructions. After boiling, drain the excess water and use cold water to rinse them. The latter step will ensure the noodles aren't cooked further. Allow them to settle in the colander. Usually, these noodles are pretty long in length. You can break them or keep them as is. According to Korean cuisine, these noodles are devoured hot. If it gets cold, to reheat, put them back in a skillet instead of microwaving.
To keep it healthy
Japchae is undoubtedly a delectable dish to relish, provided you eat it in moderation. It gives that perfect taste and texture and completes any Korean meal. However, it can be challenging to enjoy japchae and keep the calories count under control. But there are hacks to do it. Understand what japchae is made of, how many calories it contains and ensure you lead an active life with work out.
A smart tip is also to team japchae with a few lean cuts of meat such as chicken or maybe eggs. It will ensure that you have an ideal balance of macronutrients, protein, carbs and fats. Thankfully, japchae doesn't give an overdose of carbs.
Note: One can prepare a variety of dishes using glass noodles in both cold and hot preparations. A few options are hot pots, soups, spring rolls, stir-fried, or cold salads. The traditional method of serving begins with glass noodles as the bottommost layer, then goes the sauce, followed by a good portion of vegetables and protein sits on the top. It's not mixed together until the last minute.