Mother In Law’s Japchae

I broke our hard drive a while back, alas I lost the videos and photos of making this dish with the mother in law. Let these two phone pictures suffice.

photo 1  photo 2

Jap-chae is a fresh noodle dish with seasoned and flash fried mixed vegetables. Meat can be added, but it handles itself well without it, thanks to the flavourful sesame and garlic. The specific noodles to use are the sweet potato glass noodles, which come in giant yellow plastic bags and can be found in most Korean food markets at a reasonably low cost.

As the mother in law is a pro at making this, she doesn’t measure anything out, so if you make this dish, when it comes to the sauce part,  I’m guessing. Make it to taste. Add a bit here and there of what you like and let me know how it goes. Also, I’ve seen recipes where they fry everything together at once, dump the noodles on top and mix in. This would also work, but slow food is tasty food 😉


1/2 a pack of glass noodles, made to the instructions on packet, drained and cooled

1 each of a red, yellow and orange capsicum (paprika), sliced thinly

1  kilo bag of baby spinach, washed

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 large carrot, thinly sliced matchstick size

1 handful of dried cloud ear mushrooms, also know as dried black fungus or your favorite mushrooms, sliced

1 spring onion, sliced thinly

1 finely sliced chili (with or without seeds)

1 tiny small knob of ginger, crushed

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

salt and pepper

sesame oil

2 TBS of sesame seeds (can be toasted for a deeper flavour)


soy sauce

sesame oil

1 TBS brown sugar

salt and pepper


1. In a bowl of warm water, soak the cloud ear mushrooms for 30 minutes. Once they’ve re-hydrated, remove and discard the stems with scissors. The stems will feel tough between your fingers. Set the mushrooms aside.

2. Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, rinse with cool water and then squeeze out excess water from the spinach. Set the spinach aside.

3. In a large fry pan heat sesame oil (don’t let it smoke) on medium-high heat. Add in the onion and capsicums. Sprinkle with salt. Fry until  just softened and brightly coloured. Remove, set aside to cool.

4. Add more sesame oil to the pan and bring the heat back up. Add in carrot and half of the garlic. Sprinkle with salt. Fry until the carrot has just softened and brightened. Remove from heat, add to onion capsicum mix.

5. Add sesame oil to the pan again then, fry the ginger, chili, spinach, mushrooms and spring onion together. Sprinkle with salt. This lot will be on the pan the shortest, you’re basically warming the spinach back through and adding the flavour from the spices. Remove from heat.

6. In a large bowl, bring the cooked and cooled glass noodles together with the mixed vegetables. Sprinkle over the brown sugar, add 1 TBSP of sesame seeds, 3 TBSP soy sauce and a glug of sesame oil. Mix by hand to make sure all the vegetables are incorporated well with the noodles. Taste. Add more of the sauces/salt/sugar if needed. Once at a desirable taste, plate up and sprinkle the top with the remaining sesame seeds.

많이드세요 – ” Mah-ni do-say-yo: Please eat a lot/ Please eat well.

Happy eating – Chan and Bob


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s