A traditional Korean dish, Japchae inspires this dish, but I make it a bit different from the typical way:
- I like to bake the ingredients instead of stir-frying one by one. It’s not only easier this way, but I believe the veggies come out more flavorful too. Because I bake the veggies, I used broccoli, which bakes well, instead of the more common spinach.
- I prefer to make Japchae with tofu or tempeh instead of meat. Here I used tofu. It keeps the dish light, and the subtle flavor of tofu blends well with the complex mixture of vegetables without overpowering it.
- I substituted shitake mushrooms with portobello mushrooms because they are easier to get in the States.
This meal is an excellent way to expose various vegetables to kids, even if they only eat a few elements. Munchkin would only eat broccoli among the veggies, and both of my kids ask for more noodles, but that’s ok. All exposure counts. Munchkin also helped me prepare all the veggies.
Here’s a video tutorial on how I make Japchae.
Baked Japchae (Korean Stir-fried Noodles), My Way
- 1 block extra firm tofu 14 oz
- 3 red bell peppers
- 4-5 medium carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 lb broccoli florets
- 3 portobello mushrooms
- 8 oz Korean vermicelli sweet potato starch noodles
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tsp ginger
- olive oil
The night before cooking, pat dry tofu with a paper towel, slice tofu, and place it in an airtight container. Freeze overnight.
In the morning, move tofu to the refrigerator to defrost. You can defrost in the microwave if in a hurry. Make sure to use low power to avoid cooking tofu.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Discard the seeds and stem from peppers and cut them into thin strips. Peel and cut carrots into thin strips. Thinly slice the onion and cut broccoli florets into smaller pieces.
Remove the gills from mushrooms if desired. This is optional. Slice the mushrooms into strips.
Place peppers in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and season with salt to taste. Toss then spread them in a single layer as possible on a baking sheet.
Repeat the above step with carrots, broccoli, and onion
Bake peppers, carrots, and broccoli for about 20 min until the edges are lightly charred.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by mixing soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.
Use a quarter of the sauce to marinate mushrooms and a quarter to marinate tofu. Place mushrooms and tofu slices on a lightly greased baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake onions for about 20-25 minutes. Mushrooms, and tofu for about 30-35 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil (to cook vermicelli.)
Cook vermicelli following package direction minus one minute. (It took 5 minutes for me.) Drain the water. Add remaining sauce to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add vermicelli, and cook for a minute while continuously stirring.
Once tofu slices are baked, tear them into smaller pieces. Toss everything together or serve separately. (I do this for my kids.) Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and served at room temperature.
ou can add a tbsp of sesame oil and a tbsp of soy sauce to vermicelli cooking water. Noodles are less sticky this way.
After tofu and frozen and then defrosted, the texture will turn more chewy and spongy.
If you can’t find Korean vermicelli, you can use a different type of noodle and follow the package direction.