Vegetarian Japchae Recipe

Vegetarian Japchae

Vegetarian Japchae Recipe!

I’ve been making japcahe this way for a year now and I will never look back! Japchae is Korean holiday food that we make for Lunar New Year, Chuseok, or birthdays. It’s like turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving in America to me, that it doesn’t taste right if I make and eat it on a regular day. So I love making vegetarian japchae for those Korean holidays or potluck parties since everyone from kids to adults loves this Korean traditional noodles dish. It’s savory, sweet, and nutty with lots of different vegetables and textures that bind with Korean sweet potato starch noodles, and Dangmyeon. It’s a great way to use all the leftover veggies you have in your refrigerator and feed your kids lots of vegetables in one meal. Vegetarian Japchae is a very balanced dish by itself, that it almost doesn’t need to serve with other dishes to complement.

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Vegetarian Japchae

Korean/Asian foods are very easy to turn into a vegetarian/plant-based food because dairy is rarely used in Asian cuisine. Milk, cheese, and cream are not common ingredients in Asian cuisine and the only dairy we use the most is the egg.  Honestly, it’s been super easy for me to turn Korean and other Asian meals into plant-based, I haven’t struggled (knocking wood) re-creating my favorite meals into plant-based yet. (Thanks to all those amazing plant-based products out there to make my job easy too!) But sometimes (most of the time) I prefer not to consume those processed plant-based products but stick with fresh vegetables and re-uniform them. So for this vegetarian Japchae recipe, I used mushrooms to replace the beef. Dried shiitake is really fantastic as a beef replacement, if you haven’t tried it, you should try it!  I love mushrooms so much, they are really good for anti-cancer too.

Let’s start making japchae, we will need to prepare our dried shiitake mushrooms first.

Vegetarian Japchae, prepare dried shiitake mushrooms

Soak shiitake in hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Squeeze all the water out and sliced.

Vegetarian Japchae, marinate shiitake mushrooms

In a medium mixing bowl, combine sliced shiitake with the ingredients below and let it marinate while preparing other ingredients.

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp mirin (Seasoned rice wine, if you don’t have it, leave it out)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • A pinch of black pepper

Vegetarian Japchae, preparing vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, preparing vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, preparing vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, preparing vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, preparing vegetables

Slice onion, julienne yellow bell pepper, carrot, and red chili. Separate shimeji mushrooms or slice your choice of mushroom into bite sizes. You can use any other veggies you have in your refrigerator you wish to use.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt. Add clean spinach, and cook for about 10 seconds, not much longer. Remove the spinach from the boiling water to a strainer. Let it cool slightly then squeeze out excess water gently. Mix with some garlic, a pinch of salt, pepper, and sesame oil, and set aside.

You could use regular or baby spinach. I like to blanch regular spinach but if I use baby spinach, I would just sauté as other vegetables on a skillet.

Vegetarian Japchae, cooking dangmyeon

In the same water, cook dangmyeon, Korean sweet potato noodles. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. While noodles are cooking, let’s sauté the rest of the vegetables.

Vegetarian Japchae, cooking vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, cooking vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, cooking vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, cooking vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, cooking vegetablesVegetarian Japchae, cooking vegetables

The key point of this sautéing process is that sauté the vegetables from a light color to a dark color. So the vegetables will remain their own colors. We are sautéing the vegetables all separately because they all have different cooking times. At least we don’t have to rinse off the skillet each time. Lol! If you want to sauté the vegetables all together at once, no one will stop you from doing it so though. 😁

I always like to go from onion, fresh mushrooms, bell peppers, carrot, and red chili and finish with soy sauce marinated shiitake.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp oil and the sliced onion. Season with a pinch of salt, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the onion from the pan, and place it in a bowl where you will mix the Japchae. Same for the mushrooms.

Add 1 tsp oil to the same pan and the yellow pepper with a pinch of salt. Sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl. Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, carrot, and a pinch of salt. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the carrot from the pan.

Add 1 tsp oil and add the marinated shiitake to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes or until shiitake is cooked through and all moisture has evaporated. Remove from the pan.

Vegetarian Japchae, drain the dangmyeon

Drain the cooked noodles (Do not rinse!) and add to the mixing bowl where all the vegetables are.

Whisk all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, and set aside.

Vegetarian Japchae, add the sauce to the noodles

Cut the noodles as needed, if you prefer. Pour 2/3 of the sauce into the noodles and gently mix until the noodles absolve all of the sauce.

Vegetarian Japchae, add the vegetables to the noodles

You don’t have to do this part, I just did it so it looks beautiful on the camera. But at home, just throw all the vegetables and mix the vegetables and noodles. My Vegetarian Japchae looks gorgeous!!

Vegetarian Japchae, freshly ground sesame seeds

This is not nessassary but if you like to, you can freshly ground some sesame seeds and add them into japchae. It makes japchae extra fragrant!

Vegetarian Japchae, mix everythingVegetarian Japchae

Pour the rest of the sauce, and toss gently to combine the noodles and vegetables with a hand and tongs.

Vegetarian Japchae, garnish with sesame seedsVegetarian Japchae

Garnish Japchae with some additional sesame seeds. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Japchae

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Vegetarian Japchae


  • Author: Seonkyoung Longest
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 8

Ingredients

For the Shiitake

  • 10 to 12 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp mirin (Seasoned rice wine, if you don’t have it, leave it out)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • A pinch of black pepper

For the Vegetables & Noodles

  • 12 oz spinach (1 large bunch), cleaned
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 14 to 16 oz Korean sweet potato noodle, Dangmyeon
  • 1/2 medium-size onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, cut into bite sizes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienne
  • 1 medium-size carrot, julienne
  • 1 red chili, seeded and julienne, optional
  • salt and vegetable oil

For the Sauce

  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup sugar or agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak shiitake in hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Squeeze all the water out and sliced. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sliced shiitake and the rest of the ingredients for the shiitake. Let it marinate while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt. Add the spinach, and cook for about 10 seconds, not much longer. Remove the spinach from the boiling water to a strainer. Let it cool slightly then squeeze out excess water gently. Mix with the garlic, a pinch of salt, pepper, and sesame oil, and set aside.
  3. In the same water, cook the Korean sweet potato noodles. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Meanwhile, noodles are cooking, let’s cook the rest of the vegetables.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp oil and the sliced onion. Season with a pinch of salt, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the onion from the pan, and place it in a bowl where you will mix the Japchae. Same for the mushrooms.
  5. Add 1 tsp oil to the same pan and the yellow pepper with a pinch of salt. Sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl. Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, carrot, and a pinch of salt. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the carrot from the pan.
  6. Add 1 tsp oil and add the marinated shiitake to the pan. Sauté for 2 to 5 minutes or until shiitake is cooked through and all moisture has evaporated. Remove from the pan.
  7. Drain the cooked noodles (Do not rinse!) and add to the mixing bowl where all the vegetables are. Whisk all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, and set aside.
  8. Cut the noodles as needed, if you prefer. Pour 2/3 of the sauce into the noodles and gently mix until the noodles absolve all of the sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce, and toss gently to combine the noodles and vegetables with a hand and tongs. Garnish Japchae with some additional sesame seeds. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Make sure to sauté the vegetables from light colors to dark colors so the vegetables will remain the beautiful colors of their own.
  • Add more sesame oil while sautéing shiitake mushrooms as needed.
  • Add 1 tbsp of mirin or water to deglaze the pan as needed.
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins

https://seonkyounglongest.com/japchae/

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Vegetarian Japchae Recipe