Healthy Japchae Recipe: A Lighter Take On The Korean Glass Noodle Dish

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Japchae (pronounced jap-chae) is a vibrant Korean dish featuring glass noodles (also known as cellophane noodles) stir-fried with a variety of colorful vegetables, meat, and a savory sauce. It’s a popular side dish or vegetarian main course, loved for its light texture, delightful chew, and explosion of flavors. This recipe offers a healthy take on the classic japchae, focusing on lean protein and nutrient-rich vegetables.

Ingredients:

Healthy Japchae Recipe
Healthy Japchae Recipe

(12 oz) package of glass noodles (cellophane noodles)

  • (1 lb) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
  • (8 oz) shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • (1) red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • (1) yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • (1) cup of chopped spinach
  • (4) cloves garlic, minced
  • (1 tbsp) grated ginger
  • (1/4 cup) low-sodium soy sauce
  • (2 tbsp) toasted sesame oil
  • (2 tbsp) rice vinegar
  • (1 tbsp) honey or agave nectar
  • (1 tbsp) sriracha (optional, for a spicy kick)
  • (1 tsp) sesame seeds, for garnish
  • (Salt and black pepper to taste)
  • (Cooking spray)

  • Instructions:

    1. Prepare the Noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the glass noodles and cook according to package instructions, typically for 5-7 minutes. Drain the noodles thoroughly and rinse under cold water to prevent sticking. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut the noodles into manageable bite-sized pieces.
    2. Marinate the Chicken: In a medium bowl, combine the sliced chicken thighs with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and a pinch of black pepper. Marinate for at least 15 minutes, while you prepare the vegetables.
    3. Stir-fry the Vegetables: Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of cooking spray and then the sliced onion. Cook until softened and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
    4. Add the Shiitakes: Increase the heat to high and add the sliced shiitake mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and slightly browned.
    5. Incorporate the Chicken: Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the marinated chicken. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
    6. Add the Bell Pepper: Once the chicken is cooked, add the sliced red bell pepper to the pan. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until softened but still slightly crisp-tender.
    7. Incorporate the Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, sriracha (if using), and a pinch of black pepper. Pour the sauce mixture into the pan with the cooked vegetables and chicken.
    8. Combine the Noodles: Add the cooked and rinsed glass noodles to the pan with the stir-fried vegetables and chicken. Toss everything together to ensure the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce.
    9. Finish the Dish: Stir in the chopped spinach and cook for an additional minute, until just wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional soy sauce, sesame oil, or salt and pepper as desired.
    10. Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the japchae to a serving platter and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve hot alongside other Korean dishes like bibimbap or grilled meats.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    Calories: Approximately 400-450 (depending on the amount of oil used)

  • Protein: Around 30 grams
  • Carbohydrates: Around 40 grams
  • Fat: Approximately 15 grams (mostly healthy fats from sesame oil)

  • This recipe is a fantastic source of lean protein and various vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. Using low-sodium soy sauce and minimal oil keeps the dish heart-healthy and diet-friendly.

    Conclusion

    Japchae is a delicious and versatile Korean dish that can be enjoyed as a side dish or vegetarian main course. This healthy version uses lean protein, nutrient-rich vegetables, and a flavorful yet light sauce, making it a perfect addition to your healthy recipe repertoire.

    FAQs:

    1. Can I substitute the chicken with another protein?