During these hot August days we like to hang out at the beach or get together with friends for a potluck in the backyard. Labor Day picnics are right around the corner. This recipe for Korean noodle salad, also known as Japchae, is the perfect dish to bring to a potluck; its delicious cold or warm, it's colorful and addictive! Using gluten-free soy sauce keeps this dish gluten-free, which is a plus these days when sharing food with a group of people.
I made this dish with Korean sweet potato noodles which I ordered online. They can also be found at most Korean grocery stores.
Ingredients for salad:
- 1 large carrot cut into matchsticks
- ¼ yellow onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper cut into matchsticks
- 5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 small bunch of spinach
- 6 oz sweet potato noodles
Ingredients for dressing:
- ¼ cup gluten-free soy sauce (or add more if you want this more flavorful)
- 3 tbsp hot water
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Big Island Bees Wilelaiki honey
Ingredients for topping/garnishment:
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2-3 green onions, chopped
- Prepare sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
- Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and slice the mushrooms into 1/4 inch strips.
- Boil noodles for 6-7 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Put one teaspoon of the sauce into noodles and mix so they do not stick together while you prepare the vegetables. You may use kitchen shears to cut the noodles in half as they are very long! Set noodles aside.
- Clean the spinach and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze all the water out and set aside.
- Heat a nonstick skillet with a teaspoon of oil of your choosing on a medium flame. Saute the carrots, onions, red pepper and mushrooms for about 2 minutes each. (I sauteed them separately but if you are in a hurry, they can be done together for a minute or two longer.)
- Add the sauteed vegetables to the noodles and toss in the sauce. Mix well. Add the spinach in pieces.
- Cool in the refrigerator and then garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onion.
Voila! It may seem like a lot of steps but it is really a very simple recipe. Feel free to try other vegetables. The honey, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil blend to make a mellow umami flavor.