Recipes for Change: Cricket japchae

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Recipes for Change: Cricket japchae

Japchae is a traditional Korean dish that is ubiquitous at virtually all family gatherings and celebrations – everything from formal weddings to casual picnics. It is extremely versatile, allowing you to add any kind of vegetables or mushrooms you might have on hand.

It also features crickets as the star of the dish. Crickets are a superfood: they’re packed with protein (including all nine essential amino acids), Vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, and a prebiotic fiber called chitin.

Through his organization Brooklyn Bugs, Chef Yoon works to introduce people to the burgeoning edible insect industry. Two billion people around the world, living in 80 per cent of the world’s countries, already incorporate insects into their diet on a regular basis.

If you’re looking for a new source of protein with almost no greenhouse gas emissions – or you’re just feeling adventurous – give this recipe a try.

Ingredients

350 g Japchae noodles

120 ml soy sauce, divided

70 ml mirin, divided

30 ml sesame oil, divided

Salt

Pepper

50 ml neutral oil, divided

30 g scallions, divided

40 g garlic, divided

25 g ginger, divided

60 g whole roasted crickets

200 g onions

120 g carrots

50 g jalapeños

100 g mushrooms

120 g red pepper

120 g spinach

Preparation

  1. Add japchae noodles to boiling water and cook for roughly 6–7 minutes, or until al dente. Strain and run under cold water. (Japchae noodles are very long; you may want to cut them with scissors once cooked, e.g., to make them easier for children to eat.)
  2. Add 45 ml soy sauce, 30 ml mirin, 15 ml sesame oil, two pinches of salt (about 0.6 g), and a pinch of freshly cracked pepper (about 0.3 g) to the noodles. Mix to combine and set aside.
  3. Preheat skillet on medium heat. Add 10 ml neutral oil, followed by 20 g scallions, 5 g garlic, 5 g ginger, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3–4 minutes, or until fragrant.
  4. Add the crickets, 15 ml soy sauce, 10 ml mirin, and a pinch of salt, and cook for about 1 minute to combine the aromatics with the roasted crickets. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Preheat large skillet on medium-high heat. Add 40 ml neutral oil, followed by the onions, carrots, jalapeños, and the remaining garlic (35 g) and ginger (20 g), along with two pinches of salt. Cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the mushrooms, red peppers, spinach, and a pinch of salt. Fold in all ingredients and wilt the spinach. Then add 60 ml soy sauce, 30 ml mirin, and 15 ml sesame oil.
  7. Add the cooked vegetables and crickets (reserve some for garnish) to the seasoned noodles and mix well. Garnish with remaining scallions and crickets.

Notes

  • This dish can be served hot, at room temperature, or even straight from the fridge!
  • The scallion roots have a lot of flavor and can also be included in your dish.