Do you bring a bagged lunch or do you buy? With my dietary restrictions, I almost always bring my lunch. If I’m not prepared, I’ll end up buying ginger ale and a bag chips or popcorn for lunch at the convenient store in my office. Not ideal. In the summer, I prepared fresh salads the night before but now that the weather has cooled down, I prefer hot lunches. To avoid cooking lunches every night (and dinner) I’ve been trying to make big batches on Sundays. The tricky thing is, I’m not a huge fan of leftovers. So it has to be pretty tasty for me to eat it for a couple of days straight.
Korean japchae (or chapchae) glass noodles are one of my fave dishes and super easy to prepare. The beauty of these noodles is that the sauce, a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil gets tossed into the noodles after they’re done boiling and vegetables are sauteed. Simple to prepare, super delicious, and healthy. Since my version is meatless, this dish is vegetarian and vegan.
Japchae is normally served as a side or as a main with beef slices in it. I enjoyed my japchae lunch with grilled coriander lime chicken and sizeable portions of kimchi. The glass noodles are made of sweet potato starch (aka sweet potato vermicelli) and are gluten-free. You can find them in the dried noodle aisle at your Asian grocery store. Since the noodles themselves are sweet and salty but not spicy, I like to add some heat with kimchi (spicy Korean pickled cabbage), chili sauce and/or Japanese chili peppers (nanami togarashi). I ate this three days straight for lunch and loved every bite.
Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)
- 1 300 gram package Sweet Potato Starch vermicelli noodles (Dangmyun)
- 1 bunch spinach (washed)
- 1 medium carrot (cut into matchstick thin strips)
- 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 package mushrooms (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 7 green onions (finely sliced)
- Gluten free Tamari sauce
- Sesame oil
- Corn or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- Sesame seeds (Japanese chili peppers (nanami togarashi) for garnish (optional))
- Boil package of noodles in boiling water in a large pot for 3 to 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Drain and put in a large bowl.
- Cut the noodles several times with scissors. Mix together 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil and pour over noodles. Mix and set aside.
- In a non-stick pan on medium heat, add 1 teaspoon canola oil and add onions. Stir until onions is translucent. Add carrots to onions and stir to cook for 1 minute or until carrots are soft. Add onions and carrots to bowl of noodles.
- Return pan to heat. Add another 1 teaspoon of canola oil and add mushrooms. Stir and cook for a few minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Add to bowl of noodles. Return pan to heat. Add another 1/2 teaspoon of oil and add spinach. Cook until wilted. Add to bowl of noodles.
- Return pan to heat. Add another ½ teaspoon of canola oil and add green onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute and add to bowl of noodles.
- In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over noodles and vegetables and stir together. Garnish with sesame seeds and Japanese chili peppers if using. Serve with kimchi.