Jap Chae (Korean Potato Starch Noodles)

Hi everyone! This is the first week my little girl started second grade, first week of school is always an exciting time, not a lot of home work yet, though plenty of school paper works to fill out for the parents. I’ve started her Chinese lessons again on Monday, this week is really more about reviewing the words we learned while she was in First grade, by today she’s pretty much up to par with recognizing the words and sounding them out again, whew…  Hubby and I have not decided whether to enroll little girl in any extra curriculum yet, partly due to not wanting to be stuck doing recitals on the weekends, partly due to not sure what to start with. Should it be Arts? Well I am a designer with years of art lessons, so I really should be the one teaching her… Should it be piano? She’s shown the ability to pick things up quickly just playing with relatives who are piano teachers, though the lessons are expensive and we’ll have to invest in the instrument so she can practice, so for now we are still undecided. If you have some insights about after school activities, I would love to hear your recommendations and any helpful tips!

Original photo (August 2011)

OK, back to food talk! I purchased a bag of Korean Potato Starch Noodles about a month ago, they just look interesting and I’ve seen enough recipes online to know it’s a popular dish. The truth is I’ve NEVER actually had the pleasure of tasting Jap Chae, and good lord have I been missing out! The recipe calls for plenty of vegetable, plus the potato noodles are fairly low in calorie (and supposedly gluten free?), so I consider it a very healthy dish. Hope you will give it a try also!

Ingredients
12 oz Korean potato starch noodles
5 dried shiitake mushrooms* (soak in water for 10-15 minutes)
1/2 cup of dried seaweed (soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, drain)
1 small carrot, julienned
1 small sweet onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, slices thinly
2 scallions, slices thinly
1/2 chicken thigh, slices

oil to stir fry vegetables

Sauce*
4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

Chicken Marinate
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 teaspoon of cooking wine

Cook noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Cut the noodles with kitchen shears into 6 -7 inch lengths. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the prepared sauce and set aside.

Marinate the chicken thigh slices with ingredients from Chicken Marinate and set aside.

Combine all Sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Cut stems off the mushrooms and slice into 1/4-inch thin strips. Season with 1 tablespoon of the prepared sauce. Set aside.

Heat up 1 tbsp of oil, toss in chicken and cook until all sides are brown, set aside.

Cook the vegetables next, I cooked carrots first, set it aside, then toss in onions with bell pepper, stir fry for about 5 minutes, add the mushrooms, seaweed, mix well, then added the carrots back along with green onions. Combine with reserved chicken next.

Combine all ingredients and the remaining sauce with the noodles. Add additional soy sauce or sugar as necessary. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Eating and Living

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Sissi says:

    Jeno, you will not believe me, but I have a ready post (with a photo and even with the spelling checked!) that has been waiting for months featuring… Korean noodles. Although it’s just fried noodles (not a 100% Korean dish), I wanted to post it because I love the Korean noodles and think they deserve to be more famous. They have actually a slight taste (compared to the glass noodles) and we both love them with my husband. I suppose I will wait a couple more months with posting it 😉
    I didn’t know that Jap Chae was so easy and it looks delicious (at least on your photo!). I might use your recipe next time to make a 100% Korean meal.
    Unfortunately I can’t help you with your daughter’s classes… i don’t have children. On the other hand, I would advise an instrument she really likes (from my own, not a very happy experience).

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Sissi! I totally believe you! 🙂 And yes Jap Chae is fairly easy to cook, though it did take about 1 hour from start to finish, by the time I was done stirring everything together, I was sweating bullets!

      Thank you for the tip, though you got me wanting to know what was your unhappy experience? My sister also had a bad experience with her piano teacher, which prompted her to quit after 3 lessons…

      1. Sissi says:

        I think I’ll rather write you a small email…

  2. I really love Jap Chae and this looks great! I’ve tried so many recipes but haven’t found the one yet. I’m going to book mark this to try one day. I really love the seasoning and the noodle just sucks up all the yummy flavor… yum. As for the classes… I think it’s nice to let her try a lot of activities so she’s more rounded person. She’s still small and once she shows some interest in something, it’s great to give her opportunity to see if she likes it. On the other hand, I always want my kids to “continue” something when they start something…and not easily quitting… so it’s kind of hard. So far both goes to swim lesson once a week, and I’m thinking of adding another activity for each but not sure what… plus so expensive too. Just swimming itself costs $200/month for two. Arrhhh… What does she want to do? Kids pick up very easy too. BTW, I realized me teaching something can be really difficult… kids do better with another person (they listen to them better). I’ve been trying to teach Japanese every evening and it’s been really tough…. >_<

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Nami for the pointers! Swimming lessons are awesome and Trinity takes them during Summer Camps. She has gotten quite good the last Summer, even knows how to swim “Butterfly” style! Once she masters that she will be my coach, so far she has taught me how to float on my back, I absolutely love it!

      Yes, I know what you mean about teaching our kids by ourselves is difficult, I get frustrated when Trinity messed up on Chinese, but I remind myself it’s hard to learn a language unless you are immersed in it everyday. So right now she’s liking the writing, because she likes art and Chinese writing looks like drawings…

      Hope you are having a good week, my cousins in law and brother in law are at SF right now, though it;s been so cloudy they haven’t been able to do as much as we did. I hope the next few days will be more Sunny so they can see your city the way I saw!

  3. lyntrinix says:

    I love your Jap Chae! I cooked this once too and it tastes so great even though not the very authentic one, I just added whatever I could find in my fridge then! lol 😛
    I’m gonna try yours the next time! 😉
    I’m glad to know that Trinity is doing fine in her Chinese and well done Mommy! 😀 As for me, I don’t have the patience to teach and I totally agreed with Nami about letting others teach bcoz majority of kiddos just won’t take it so seriously when their own parents are teaching ’em but there’re exceptional cases too, like those who home-schooled their own kids and they’re doing just as fine or even better! So, if you feel that you’re able to teach Trinity and she’s doing well and learning, continue on! This is another great way of bonding! 😉
    If you ask me what to let the kids learn, my ans is: let ’em try out different ones (by using toys like little keyboards for piano, drawing can be done just anywhere as long as you’ve got paper and pen/pencil etc) to discover her interests and talents. Once it’s found or confirmed that she’s REALLY interested, you can put your heart at ease to invest and let her learn w/o wasting money. Kiddos at too young ages tend to be so fickle-minded, they may be very interested in one activity now and suddenly don’t like it anymore the next min. We won’t know, even they themselves are not very sure I believe. It may takes a little bit of time to know and discover but at least you’ll be very sure what she really likes and wants… 🙂

    Enjoy your weekends! 😀

    1. Jeno says:

      Great suggestion Lyn! Trinity has been drawing ever since she’s young, she’s also a big reader. She keeps on telling me her dream career is to take over my graphic design business, though I think it’s because she sees me working at home and doing all these interesting projects, so it’s pretty much the only “Fun” job she knows of. I want to broaden her horizon and not limit herself, though at the same time feeling happy about maybe having my daughter follow the same path as me. For now I am keeping with the Mandarin Chinese lessons, also encourage her reading hobby, probably will hold off on adding after school activities when she’s a bit older.

      If you do try to recipe, please tell me how you like it! Have a great weekend too!

  4. annavy says:

    this look absolutely delish!!!! ccan you use different noodles besides the korean starch noodles???

    1. Jeno says:

      I would think so Annavy. The sauce is what makes the recipe so yummy, the glass noodles are a bit similar to the Vietnamese vermicelli, so it should be a suitable substitute. Let me know how you like it!

  5. This is a nice recipe and I like it because it is fairly simple and I believe the noodles and vegetables can also be eaten as a cold dish in summer.

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you ChopinandMysaucepan! I really enjoyed eating this noodle dish, though the cooking process took a while longer than I expected, but the result was well worth the efforts. I hope you will enjoy it as much as my family did!

  6. These look wonderful! It hasn’t been until very recently that I discovered noodles made from sweet potato starch at the Asian food store, and they’re really a nice gluten-free option, also for my parents who’re both gf by now.

    Regarding your little girl … I had drawing lessons from 14 to maybe 16, and started to play the piano at 25 (very late, I know, but I love it and am very determined, so I also teach lessons by now – I’d love to teach to little girl, and it wouldn’t be so expensive because I don’t have a music degree, but I’m good with it, thanks to applying my knowledge about learning and memory psychology to piano playing), so this really hits familiar ground with me! Maybe it would be a good idea to teach your girl in drawing privatly – I had no idea you were so accomplished in design! – and get a teacher for piano lessons. This way, she can choose what she prefers.

    Given her age, she won’t need a full 45 or 60 minutes lesson, 20 ore 30 minutes will be enough. It’s important to practice hands separately especially at the beginning (but still later on) to achieve a good technique. Just don’t let her practice by slowly playing pieces at sight with both hands!!! This will slow down the learning progress incredibly. You know, I’ve been playing for 4 years now, and I’m on a level that I can play Chopin piano concertos, so it really comes down to a good strategy for practice, and practicing regularly. If she does half an hour a day, it’s a good thing. You know, you can email me any time if you have any further questions!

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you so much for your pointers! I will definitely take that into consideration. My sister enrolled her children in piano at least a year ago, though getting the kids to practice is a challenge. I have yet to enroll my little girl in any after school activities, because hubby and I truly enjoy not being bogged down on evenings and weekends to drive all over doing things the three of us might not truly enjoy.

      It’s interesting you started your lessons at 25, and already reached Chopin piano concertos level! I always think when people get to an age where we start to “choose” to learn, rather are being “forced” to learn, that’s when it makes sense. Here at Houston and surrounding areas, it’s the norm to shuffle children from one activity to the next, but hubby and I don’t really believe in that. I wanted to thank you again for your insight, it’s given me a lot to think about!

      1. Choosing to learn, that’s really it! And I believe you can learn whatever you want at any age. As a child, you may have a more intuitive approach, but as an adult, you have a sense of motivation that keeps you staying with the things you do. And then there’s neuroplasticity … So, I really don’t believe you could be too old to learn something, even if you have to start at zero!

  7. Shinae Nae says:

    Your chahpchae looks great, Jeno! I haven’t made some in a looooong time, and you’ve inspired me to give it a go sometime soon.

    As to the extracurricular activities, I think it has very much to do with the lifestyle you want as a family. As I’m sure you’re aware, the time and money associated with certain EC activities can really run away from you.

    As a mother, I’m happy to let my kids explore one interest at a time, and preferably in an environment that isn’t about showing as much as learning. And it was after 10 long years that I was finally able to embrace my approach to this without feeling like less of a mother, especially because I lived in a very overachieving and appearances focused kind of community for a very long time.

    For example, my daughter is in TKD classes which she takes at her other house (her dad’s). They cost $150/month, and then every 6 weeks, without fail, there’s a $75 testing fee for her to be belt tested. And it’s a little ridiculous that my daughter will now be a black belt after three short years of this nonsense (and she doesn’t really know her forms either). She enjoys the classes, and I would be happy at this point if she were still a yellow belt but was focused on learning what she’s supposed to know than on these regular belt awarding ceremonies. But, oh well. That’s that.

    If I were to have another child now (which I’m not planning on), my approach would be to expose him/her to all kinds of arts and activities through performances, museums, and exhibitions and let him/her tell me which they wanted to participate in, one at a time, and when they find one that sticks, I would support that by paying for lessons and all the adjunct things that come with them. It seems for now, my son has found that in cooking – and that makes me super happy for a number of reasons.

    Sorry for the ramble. Thanks for listening. 😛

    1. Jeno says:

      Oh Shinae, thank you for much for your reply! I appreciate hearing your thoughts about extracurricular activities. The neighborhood I live in can get competitive, but I do surround myself with a wonderful group of folks that have similar thoughts about life, this is why I have not felt the urge to stick my little girl in all kinds of classes/activities. My husband and I have been exposing her to different age appropriate events ever since she’s old enough to realize what’s going on around her, now that she’s turning 8, we’ve finally signed her up to start official piano lessons. It’s important that she enjoys it, I am not expecting a child prodigy, only hoping the lessons will teach her about music and be more disciplined. No Tiger Mom here!

      Hope you have a great day!

  8. Tapioca flour, or more appropriately – cassava flour, is still produced and consumed in tropical countries where the cassava plant is indigenously grown.

  9. I am so glad I was looking at your archive of recipes as I have a bag of Korean Potato starch noodles in my pantry and the instruction on how to prepare are of course in Korean… and I am glad you clarified that you boil then rinse to cook then stirfry. I was wondering if I should just soak in room temperature water or do you ever have problems with your noodles getting too sticky after cooking them? (You know how sometimes rice noodles can get too soft with just a too long of a soak) Take Care, BAM

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Bam! I don’t remember potato starch noodles ever getting too sticky, probably because after I rinse it with cold water, the recipe calls for 2 table spoonfuls of sauce and mix thoroughly to coat the cooked noodles, that seems to prevent them from sticking too much.

      Have a good day!

      1. Thanks for the heads up. Will give it a go this weekend. Take care, BAM

  10. Oh Jeno 🙂 I didn’t know you posted about this recipe before! its one of my favourite Korean dishes! I can’t believe you made everything form scratch! I haven’t had these for awhile so I think I’m gonna have to go have Korean soon hehe

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Daisy! I have been making this dish many times, and it’s one of my favorite Korean recipes also! Don’t think my husband cares for it much, though sometimes I do cook for myself, hahah!

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