Korean Japchae

Whoa! I spied a new solution to my ancestral (at least one generation 😉 craving for pasta. Whilst strolling the isles at my favorite Anchorage food store (New Sagaya) and wishing I could read Korean and Japanese, I found these Korean starch noodles Japchae styleamazing noodles with just one ingredient on the package: sweet potato. I read it again, yup just sweet potato. Now here is a food, a real food with ingredients that don’t require a chemistry degree to decipher. At a whopping 47 carbohydrates per serving this is not going to be part of any weight loss plan. But for any of us at our ideal weight or who just “need” the occasional pasta fix, it is simple and cost effective and goes with just about any sauce you might care to create.

Tonight I made it into a more traditional Korean dish, maybe tomorrow I’ll see how it serves underneath red sauce and hot Italian sausage.

Serves 6

Ingredients:Sweet potato starch noodles

12 oz package Hanmi Korean style starch noodles (100% sweet potato starch)
pot of boiling water
½ cup Organic chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
2 Tbs peanut butter
1 Tbs wheat free tamari
1 Tbs sesame oil
3 tsp rice vinegar
4-8 drops hot oil

½ cup julienned carrots
½ cup broccoli florets
6-8 crimini mushrooms, sliced

⅓ cup sliced green onions
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
optional: white sesame seeds, black flax seeds, cashew pieces or peanuts as garnish

1. Make sure the vegetables are all cleaned and prep’d.
2. Place the starch noodles in a large bowl, breaking the long pieces to 4 inch lengths or so.
3. Pour boiling hot water over the noodles and set aside—note: do not soak noodles too long, about 10 minutes.
4. Mix together the chicken broth and next 7 ingredients. A Magic Bullet is helpful.
5. Place sauce in the bottom of a sauté pan and begin to heat. Add the carrots, broccoli and mushrooms.
6. Saute the vegetables in the sauce quickly until just tender—do not over cook. Remove from heat.
7. Drain the noodles in a colander and transfer to a serving dish.
8. Pour the vegetables and sauce mixture over the noodles and toss well.
9. Garnish as you wish with green onions, cilantro, seeds and/or nuts.

240 E. Tudor Road, Anchorage AK 99503

Copyright © 2013 GL Sternquist DC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

4 thoughts on “Korean Japchae

  1. I just found these Hanmi Korean Style Starch Noodle’s too. The bag says “sweet potato” but the woman working in the store said they were really “regular” potato. (So, now I’m not positive.)

    • Hi Jan, thank you for this. When I wrote that I was searching for a non-grain pasta that would keep a nice culinary consistency (if you’ve tried 100% buckwheat pasta also called soba, it gets pretty gummy if overcooked for even a split second so we always felt like we were compromising our eating experience). Whether made from the sweet potato or the regular potato, this brand still accomplishes that goal. Since writing that, I’ve also found some lentil-based pastas that are grain free here and here.

      All that said, your point is important and readers do need to consider that we are all different, what works for one does not work for all. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are not necessarily interchangeable. I’ve read much of the research on sugar, starch, nutrient content, glycemic index and glycemic load comparisons… and there is a nice summary here (although the author asserts that carbs provide long-lasting energy which is not what I’ve found to be the case; the body’s preferred long-burn fuel really is fat). In my book, colored foods are always preferable excepting rare circumstances. Colored potatoes have a lot more vitamin A than white potatoes and sweet potatoes have even more. Many people run true vitamin A deficient (a family of carotinoids, not just the synthetic vitamin), which creates an apparency of vitamin D imbalance as well, among other problems.

      There seem to be two main issues:
      1. in 2015 a GMO potato has been put on the market so we now have no idea whether this Korean product is GMO or not;
      2. individuals who are nightshade intolerant may react to this product if it is made from potato (tubers of the Solanaceae family) rather than sweet potato (swollen roots from plants of the Convolvulaceae family)

      Looks like you also have enormous expertise in diet and correcting food allergies, do you have other thoughts?

      • I was “digging” more today, and my suspicion is that these ARE a variety of “sweet potato.” (We have purple ones with white skins in Hawaii.) But, it looks like the starch noodles are so highly refined, they only really have carb/calories and iron left in them. BUT, still an option for the person on a highly restricted diet.) My guess is not GMO, if sweet potato.
        And, yes, my area is LEAP Diet/food sensitivity, and everybody is different. Some people tolerate sweet potato, some not. (I’ve had patients nightshade free, rice free, GF, corn free, quinoa free, so, always looking for alternatives.) Anything can be reactive for the right (wrong?) person. So, always on the look-out for “one ingredient” foods to make it easier for people on strict elimination diets.
        This sweet potato starch noodle was new to me. (Found in the local market this week. Reheating leftovers for breakfast as I type, but added sesame seed & cilantro- 2 ingredients I left out last night, since hubby doesn’t like them . . .)
        But, the nice thing about sweet potato, like you say, is they are not nightshade. Anyway, always more to learn! Thanks for your great contributions!

      • Thank you Jan! I think probably the store person considers the “sweet potato” as the regular potato if from eastern countries as it is more common there 🙂
        No kidding on always more to learn! And your Hawai’i clients must enjoy having you as a resource. Thanks for being there. This recipe site started as a labor of love for all my clients with the “what’s there to eat?” questions. I try to be honest and review the research before writing my articles as my public service contribution. I hope it helps your clients too. Cheers!

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