Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles Stir Fry)

Perfect as both a side or main, Japchae refers to deliciously chewy sweet potato starch noodles that’s been mixed with an array of vegetables and seasoned with a super simple soy-sesame sauce. Throw in some marinated meat for extra flavour! 

Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles Stir Fry) Recipe

Japchae is often eaten in place of salads in my household. I mean… the noodles are made from sweet potato, and these noodles are then mixed with other colourful vegetables. That basically makes it a salad, right? It’s so tasty and perfect for when you want something that’s satisfying yet light. Goodbye food coma! 

They are absolutely irresistible but my favourite thing about Japchae is that unlike most noodles, they are great be it eaten hot, warm or at room temperature. Because of this unique quality, I’ve made Japchae for potlucks, picnics, hikes, mid road-trip fuel, basically everything!

Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles Stir Fry) Recipe

What is Japchae?

Japchae simply refers to sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon) mixed with an array of assorted stir-fried vegetables and tossed in a delicious soy-sesame sauce. Meat and egg optional but highly recommended! If you think about it, the prep work for Japchae is very similar to Bibimbap – assorted vegetables cooked individually and then mixed with your choice of carbs and meat, and a banging sauce. I know I know, cooking each ingredient can be time consuming but is honestly so important to ensure that each component of the dish is cooked perfectly. Overcooked vegetables are not ideal! 

Japchae is known and loved for the ever-so-delightful springy sweet potato noodles but interestingly, the 17th century version of Japchae did not have any noodles. It was only added in 1919 when a dangmyeon factory opened in Northern Korea. I’m glad someone realised that carbs made everything better.

Japchae  - Close up

Japchae variations 

The classic vegetables for Japchae are carrots, spinach, onions and mushrooms (both fresh or dried works). If using dried mushrooms, you’ll have to rehydrate them in a bowl of warm water for a couple of hours. Other vegetables you could add include bell peppers and garlic chives. 

To vegan-ize it, simply leave out the meat and egg and add more vegetables. Pan-fried tofu would also work wonderfully well in this dish (use the same marinade as the beef). 

Did you know that these sweet potato starch noodles are also naturally gluten free? To make this whole dish gluten free, just use gluten-free soy sauce. 

Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles Stir Fry) Recipe

Check out my other Korean recipes:

Japchae (Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry)

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Serves: 2

Perfect as both a side or main, Japchae refers to deliciously chewy sweet potato starch noodles that’s been mixed with an array of vegetables and seasoned with a super simple soy-sesame sauce. Throw in some marinated meat for extra flavour!

Ingredients

  • Marinated Beef
  • 225g ribeye/sirloin, cut into long strips (you could use chicken or pork too)
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • Vegetables and Eggs
  • Neutral oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 150g spinach
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until plump and sliced
  • Salt

  • Noodles and Sauce
  • 150g Korean dried sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

1

In a bowl, mix together the beef slices, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and minced garlic and set aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

2

Heat up some oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in the beaten egg and swirl it around until it forms a thin layer. Cook it for 1-2 minutes until it sets then flip it over and cook the other side for another minute. Place the omelette onto a plate or chopping board and let it cool slightly before slicing it into long thing strips. You could let it cool and slice into it only after you finish cooking the vegetables to save time.

3

Add a little more oil into the same pan and fry off your onions. Season with a small pinch of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned and translucent. Place the onions into the large bowl that you’ll be using to mix the japchae in. Repeat with the carrots (they will turn soft rather than translucent when ready).

4

Again, add more oil into the pan and add the marinated beef in. Cook for 2-5 minutes then place it into the bowl with the vegetables.

5

Bring another pot of water up to a boil. Add in the spinach and cook for 10-15 seconds, not any longer. Remove it from the boiling water (don’t drain the water) and plunge it into ice water immediately. Squeeze out water from the spinach and set aside with the other vegetables.

6

Into the same pot, cook the dried sweet potato noodles according to package directions.

7

While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl (soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and black pepper). When the noodles are ready, drain them and rinse under cold water. You can cut the cooked noodles with scissors if desired.

8

Add the noodles into the bowl with the vegetables and beef (don’t forget the sliced egg and mushrooms) and mix until incorporated. Pour the sauce in and mix again until evenly distributed.

9

Garnish with sesame seeds and serve either hot, warm or at room temperature.

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