Glass Noodles with Vegetable Stir Fry (Jap Chae)
This glass noodle dish (also known as cellophane noodles, dam myun in Korean and harusame in Japanese) is made from sweet potato starch. The dish is very similar to chow mein, but aesthetically the noodles look translucent once they're boiled and their texture is chewier.
I prepared the noodles with king mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, pan-fried tofu, baby spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. The dish is relatively easy and quick to make if you have all the veggies prepped in advance.
Yields: 10 servings2 (14.4-ounce) packages dried glass noodles
4 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
2 (12-ounce) packages fim tofu
6 green onions, julienned, cut about 1" long
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon mushroom seasoning salt (or regular salt)
1 white sweet potato, steamed and peeled
1 cup cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or any white vinegar)
1 carrot, julienned, cut about 2" long
1 cup oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 king oyster mushroom (see tips)
1-½ teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 teaspoons sesame oil
For the noodles:
When uncooked, the glass noodles look grayish. Place the long noodles in a large bowl and soak them in cold water for 20 minutes. This step will help soften the noodles. Drain through a colander and discard the liquid. Set aside.
Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil. Immerse the noodles in the boiling water, return the water to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. That way the pasta is cooked evenly all the way through. Salt the water half way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the noodles and they will be softer) and keep stirring every now and then so the noodles don't stick to the bottom. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. When the noodles are cooked (tender but still in shape and chewy in texture), drain them and drizzle with about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Set aside.
For the tofu:
Drain any liquid from the tofu. Pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the block of tofu into 1 inch thick pieces. In the same wok, heat the oil, fry the tofu slices and transfer to a plate. Once the tofu is cool enough to handle, cut the pieces into French-fry-sized strips. Set aside.
For the veggies:
Blanch the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes in rice vinegar boiling water then transfer into an ice bath. Drain thoroughly, then pat dry on a paper towel. Do not overcook, as the cauliflower will continue to cook with the rest of the ingredients later; it should be still tender and crisp.
Add a tablespoon of oil to the same wok. When the oil is hot, add a teaspoon of garlic. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, add the shallots. Cook until slightly golden. Add the carrots and diced King mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the oyster mushrooms; cook for an additional minute. When the color is translucent, season with salt. Add the thin onion wedges and cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
The sweet potatoes should be the same size as the fried tofu. Add more oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, add the sweet potatoes and cook until slightly golden. Transfer to a plate.
For the baby spinach, add them to the wok and slightly sauté for about a minute. The leaves will start to wilt after 30 seconds or so. Season with salt (this will prevent the spinach from changing color and will keep it bright green). Turn off the heat. Don't overcook the vegetables as they will continue cooking in the noodles later. Set the plates aside.
In the same wok, add the rest of the oil. Once it's hot, add the tofu. Add the sugar and soy sauce. Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Add the cooked noodles. Cut them, if necessary, with kitchen shears. Add all the vegetables, except the spinach. Add water (if necessary) so the ingredients don't stick to the bottom of the wok. Stir constantly. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Finish with the spinach.
Sprinkle with black pepper. Drizzle with sesame oil.
This dish can be eaten hot, cold or at room temperature. You can also garnish it with slightly toasted sesame seeds and serve with hot sauce on the side if you like. You can check for the recipe of the tướng ớt, literally spicy dipping sauce in Vietnamese; it's ultra easy.
You could also add shredded chicken or sautéed beef to the noodle dish if you like.
Eat with chopsticks .
Just as with many of other noodle recipes, I find glass noodles at Asian stores. I buy them at the Korean Store. They're called dangmyeon, dang myun, dangmyun, tang myun, or tangmyun in Korean. Just make sure to pick the noodles made from sweet potato starch (there are many other varieties such as egg noodles, wheat-flour Udon noodles, buckwheat, cassava, mung bean, canna starch or rice noodles).
The soy sauce brings saltiness to the dish and a nice amber brown color. My favorite soy sauce is the Da Bo De brand. It has a good flavor and is not too salty. You can find this particular sauce, at Dai Thanh Asian market on 420 S 2nd St, in San Jose. I think this is one of the best "ethnic" grocery stores in the area.
You can find king oyster mushrooms in Asian stores. They are also called abalone mushrooms and have a very meaty texture. I also used oyster mushrooms but you could use other kinds such as shiitake or wood ear mushrooms.
I use these particular vegetables but you can add any other vegetables that are in season. A more authentic version would have julienned green bell peppers but I didn't have any on hand. I used cauliflower instead. You could also use Chinese cabbage, bok choy or green beans.
A fast and easy way to shred carrots is with this wonderful gadget from Messermeister. It's a great utensil for making julienne vegetables.
I absolutely love the Thanh Son tofu brand. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try it. They sell it in almost all the Asian markets in the Bay Area, and their main shop is on 2857 Senter Road, San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. Their factory makes the best tofu texture; it's made fresh daily.
For more crunch, you could also add lightly sautéed bean sprouts at the end.
The addition of the sesame oil at the end is the perfect finishing touch to the noodles and prevents them from sticking to each other.
Here are a few tips to guarantee non-soggy glass noodles:
- Always stir-fry the ingredients at the highest setting of the stove (always high heat).
- All the vegetables and fried tofu strips should be cut the same size for even cooking.Published By: on February 21, 2010.