Japchae: Noodles for a Crowd

japchae, jap chae
Korean Sweet Potato “Glass” Noodles

Spinach, Beef, Shiitake, Carrot, Cabbage, Onion
Sweet Garlicky Sesame Soy Sauce

sweet potato noodles, dangmyun
The following note was in my mailbox at work:

Lori Lynn – Please bring a COLD PASTA SALAD for the party on Thursday.

At our school, we have a festive monthly themed luncheon for the faculty and staff who are celebrating birthdays. This past month’s theme was football. With hot dogs and chili. And I was (happily) one of a handful of people asked to bring a dish. But I couldn’t bring myself to make the “cold pasta salad.” No farfalle. No rotini. No mayo.

I had a hankering to make japchae, Korean glass noodles with beef, vegetables, and a sweet garlicky sesame soy sauce – a perfect dish to feed a crowd. It’s transportable, economical, and one large bag of dangmyeon (glass noodles made from sweet potato starch) makes over 20 side-sized servings. And since it is often served at Korean celebrations, I thought it would make a great dish for our birthday party. It takes a little while to prepare because all the ingredients are cooked separately, but it is awfully easy.

On that Thursday morning I stir-fried veggies and beef, cooked the noodles, whisked together the sauces and had my dish in the teachers’ lounge by 11:15 AM, in time for the first lunch period.

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