Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 21, 2021
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Sweet Potato Noodles (Japchae)

Traditionally made for parties or celebrations, japchae is great for a light lunch or side dish

8 oz. (250 g) sweet potato noodles
½ bunch spinach (about 4 oz./110 g), rinsed and trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) plus 1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) Asian sesame oil
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) salt
1 Tbsp. (15 ml)vegetable oil
6 oz. (180 g) beef rib-eye, cut into ¼- to ½-inch (0.5- to 1-cm) thick strips
¼ c. (60 ml) plus 1 tsp. (5 ml) soy sauce
¼ medium onion, sliced
3 to 4 pyongo or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, shredded or cut into thin strips
3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ c. (60 ml) sugar
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Cook the sweet potato noodles (found in most Asian supermarkets) in a large pot of boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Be sure not to overcook the noodles, or they will lose their chewy texture. If you like, cut the noodles with scissors into 6- to 7-inch (15- to 20-cm) lengths for easier eating.

Blanch the spinach in boiling water. Rinse immediately under cold water, squeeze the water from the leaves and form into a ball, and then cut the ball in half. Combine the spinach, half the garlic, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of the sesame oil, and the salt in a small bowl. Set aside to let the flavours soak in.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, the remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of the soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of the sesame oil. Stir-fry until the beef is cooked, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, mushrooms, and carrots and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the green onions and stir-fry for another minute. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the noodles, beef mixture, spinach, remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil, and the sugar. Serve warm, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Makes 4 or 5 servings.

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