There are many good cooks in Ananda Marga, some exemplary, such as Haripriya Saxon. This is one of her signature dishes. It uses Korean noodles that are made from Korean sweet potato starch mixed with tofu and four vegetables. Glassy and chewy, the noodles have little flavor on their own but pick up other seasonings when cooked in a stir fry or soup. Dang Myun (glass noodle), is different in ingredients, taste and texture from the glass noodles used in Chinese and Thai cooking. Their texture is more elastic than other kinds of noodles.These noodles are made from sweet potato starch and are nearly transparent after they’ve been cooked. They’re essential for making japchae. They are sold dried in Asian markets or mail order from Amazon.com.Stir frying each ingredient separately seems like a lot of labor, but each one requires a different cooking time and a bit of care, and keeping the color and freshness of each ingredient intact makes for a stunning final presentation. You want to slice and dice your veggies into relatively thin strips so that they mesh well with the noodles. An easy way to make it even prettier and more nutritious is to use more vegetables and less noodles, although this is hard to recommend because the noodles are delicious by themselves.(serves 4)
Haripriya’s Korean Sweet Potato Noodle and Vegetable Stir Fry
1 package 12 oz. sweet potato noodles
2 tablespoons organic canola oil
1 teaspoon organic ginger, grated
Pinch of five spice powder
4 ounces spinach, washed and drained
2 cups organic green cabbage, shredded
1 small organic carrot, julienne
½ red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (optional)
1 medium organic summer squash, sliced into half-moons
2 cups meat alternative (cubes of baked tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.)
2 teaspoons organic toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons organic tamari, or more
1/2 bunch organic cilantro, chopped
2 organic lemons, slice into quarters
1 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper or to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then take it out with a slotted spoon or strainer. Let the water keep boiling to cook the noodles.Rinse the spinach in cold water to stop it from cooking. Squeeze it with your hands to remove any excess water. Cut it a few times and put it into a bowl. Mix with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Put it into a large mixing bowl.
Put the noodles into the boiling water, cover and cook for 1 minute. Stir them with a wooden spoon so they don’t stick together. Cover and keep cooking for another 7 minutes until the noodles are soft and chewy.
Strain in a colander and cut them into 1/4 inch lengths a few times with kitchen scissors. Once the noodles are cooked, give them a good rinse with the strainer and cold running tap water. Allow excess water to drip off of noodles, then use a pair of food scissors to cut off a handful of noodles at a time and transfer shorter noodles to a bowl. The noodles are quite long; cutting them into sections allows for comfortable eating. Put the noodles into the large bowl next to the spinach. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Mix well by hand or a wooden spoon. This process will season the noodles and also keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add ginger, spice powder, cabbage, carrots, squash, meat alternative, and pinches of sea salt and black pepper. Cook and stir occasionally until vegetables are firm, 3 minutes.
Spread a tablespoon of your favorite cooking oil to a large pan and warm the noodles over low-medium heat. You’ll need to stir frequently with a wooden spoon or chopsticks to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Now transfer everything to a large bowl or dish where you can use a clean hand to mix everything together. Most Korean chefs use a clean hand for this. Add sesame oil and tamari. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Toss in cilantro at the end. Serve with a slice of lemon. Good hot, cold, or at room temperature.