Serves 6 to 8
- 1 pound japchae (Korean cellophane noodles)
- 2 cups dried silkworm pupae
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons mirin
- 6 tablespoons sake (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chili oil (optional)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, finely sliced lengthwise and cut in half
- 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced lengthwise and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- Two carrots, julienned (cut into thin strips or small pieces)
- 1 handful spinach
- 6 to 10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cut in slices
1. Soak the dried silkworm pupae in the following mixture to rehydrate: ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup mirin, ¼ cup sake (optional), 2 tablespoons chili oil (optional), 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, and a little water to cover (approximately ½ cup). This should be done for at least a couple of hours, or overnight.
2. Place one pound of japchae in rapidly boiling water and mix thoroughly to avoid clumping. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until they are al dente. Place in colander and run under cold water until cool. Take scissors and cut into eighths.
3. Add ¼ cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons mirin, 2 tablespoons sake (optional), 2 minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly until the noodles have an even color. Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, and mix one final time.
4. While the noodles are cooking, preheat pan over medium-high heat, then add vegetable oil. Add onions, red bell pepper and carrots, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until slightly caramelized. Set aside.
5. Blanche a handful of spinach, wring dry and drizzle with sesame oil and a pinch of salt.
6. Cook shiitake mushrooms in preheated pan with vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add a little salt and pepper, letting the moisture evaporate from the mushrooms so they cook down. Add one minced garlic clove, a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil; let brown to absorb flavors. Set aside with the other vegetables.
7. Combine the noodles and vegetables until everything is evenly mixed. Add salt or pepper to taste.
8. Strain the silkworm pupae, then mix with japchae.
Note: This can be eaten at room temperature, but you may prefer to heat immediately before serving (preheat pan to medium high, then add the japchae and silkworm pupae in portions and briefly heat until warm).