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    Japchae (Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry)

    If you love Korean food, Japchae is already well on your radar. For the rest of you, let me introduce Korea’s most beloved dish, celebrated on special festive occasions and get togethers… Japchae!!

    It’s a beautiful, stunning and colorful stir fry with chewy, slippery and fun sweet potato glass noodles (dangmyeon), tons of veggies and tender beef strips. The secret to the best tasting Japchae is perfectly balanced sweet and savory japchae sauce.

    You can make the dish as colorful and meaty as you want, or you can go the vegan way. Learn how to make Korea’s most popular dish in your kitchen. We will tell you all…

    Japchae is a unique Korean glass noodle stir fry that is often served at special occasions, and is also popular at parties and pot lucks.

    Do you like stir fries? If answer is yes, we have a very unique and tasty stir fry for you. Korean Japchae. It’s sweet and savory, made with slippery glass noodles and an assortment of perfectly cooked veggies and meat.

    We personally love all kinds of stir fries and wok them all the time. Check out our collection of favorite Stir Fry Recipes for plenty of ideas.

    Today’s Korean classic is lot different than your regular stir fries. Let’s see how…

    What is Japchae

    Japchae is a unique Korean glass noodle stir fry that is often served at special occasions, and is also popular at parties and pot lucks.

    Japchae is stir fry with a twist. Traditionally, it’s not stir fried in the wok, but cooked noodles are mixed by hand, along with all the other Japchae fixings.

    Japchae (잡채 –, or chapchae) is a classic and very popular Korean noodle dish celebrated during festivals, and on special occasions like New Years day and family get togethers. But then, they like it so much that japchae finds it way onto regular weeknight menus all the time.

    Japchae is a unique Korean glass noodle stir fry that is often served at special occasions, and is also popular at parties and pot lucks.

    The name “Japchae” means mixed vegetables. It is believes that japchae was a noodle-less dish when invented in the 17th century. Though now a days, those slippery glass noodles are one of the main essences of this dish.

    This noodle pot is full of different colored veggies cooked to perfection with tender meat, all seasoned with a well balanced sweet and savory Japchae sauce.

    Traditionally, all the Japchae components, like veggies and meat are prepped and cooked individually before mixing everything with noodles. By doing this, every vegetable is cooked to perfect crunchiness, retaining their individual color, texture and flavor. It takes a little time, but Japchae is such a celebratory meal that it deserves that pampering and perfection.

    Japchae is a unique Korean glass noodle stir fry that is often served at special occasions, and is also popular at parties and pot lucks.

    Japchae can be served hot, warm or at room temperature. Often times, it is served as an appetizer or a side dish, or over a bed of rice to make it a main dish.

    We personally feel it’s a complete meal in itself, with a perfect balance of carb, protein and veggies.

    What Are Korean Sweet Potato Glass Noodles (Dangmyeon)?

    glass noodles prior to cooking

    Korean sweet potato glass noodles are known as dangmyeon (당면) in Korea. They are made from the starch of sweet potatoes. They do not contain any wheat, so they are naturally gluten-free.

    The noodles are stiff and grayish in color. Once cooked, they become translucent and tender, and a little slippery and bouncy. You might need to cut them in half, or a few times, with kitchen scissors after cooking, as most of the glass noodle brands make them very long.

    You can find Korean sweet potato glass noodles in most of Asian grocery stores, or buy them online.

    Japchae Ingredients

    chopped vegetables
    • Noodles – Use only Korean sweet potato glass noodles. They are iconic in this dish. Substituting them with any other noodles is simply not Japchae.
    • Protein – We are using ribeye (our favorite cut of beef) for this recipe, as it yield beautiful tasty and tender bites. You can use sirloin, flank steak or New York strip too. Beef strips are more traditional, but can be easily replaced with chicken, shrimp or even tofu. You can go vegan by avoiding any meat in Japchae.
    • Marinade – Garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, sesame oil and rice wine.
    • Vegetables – Today we used onion, scallions, red and yellow bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms (you can sub with regular mushrooms), carrots and spinach.
    • Eggs – For making a thin omelette that will be cut into ribbons. It is excellent in this Japchae mix.
    • Japchae sauce – Soy sauce, honey or sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and black pepper.

    How to Make Japchae :

    Japchae can be made with different steps happening at the same time, saving considerable time. For example, when the water is boiling for noodles and blanching the spinach, you can start prepping and cooking veggies.

    If you follow the sequence below, it can save time. The complete recipe with exact proportions is in the recipe card below, this is just a quick overview.

    1. Marinate the beef: Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinate the beef strips in the marinade while you prep the rest of the dish. (Alternately, you can marinate the meat in the morning).

    2. Make Japchae Sauce: Combine all the ingredients of Japchae sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, sesame seeds, black pepper) in a bowl and keep it aside.

    the sauce mixed in a bowl

    3. Cook Noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Korean sweet potato glass noodles and boil them according to the package directions, about 6 to 10 minutes.

    Remove the noodles with a big sieve, and transfer them to a large serving bowl. (DO NOT discard the water, as you’ll cook the spinach in it). If you prefer, cut the noodles a little shorter to make them easier to mix and eat.

    Mix 1/4 of the japchae sauce with the noodles and toss well. This will prevent the noodles from sticking to each other, and allow them to absorb a beautiful color.

    cooked noodles mixed with sauce

    3. Cook Veggies: Add the spinach to the boiling water from the noodles. Cook for about 10-15 seconds, so as to wilt it a bit. Transfer spinach with tongs or slotted spoon from the boiling water to ice water immediately. Squeeze the out water from spinach gently. Set it aside on a platter large enough to hold all of the cooked veggies later.

    While the water is boiling, you can prep and cook your veggies. Make sure to cook each vegetable separately, starting with the light-colored ones and ending with the dark-colored ones. Cook all vegetables just 3-4 minutes, so as to retain the crunch.

    4. Make omelette strips: Heat 2 tsp oil and add beaten eggs. Swirl the skillet so the eggs cover the whole skillet in a thin layer. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until set, then flip over and cook for another minute. Plate it out. Roll the omelette and cut it into thin strips or ribbons

    5. Cook beef: Heat 2-3 tsp oil and add the marinated beef. Sauté until cooked throughout. We cook it for about 5-6 minutes. Transfer it to the veggie platter.

    cooked noodles and beef arranged atop the noodles

    6. Assemble the Japchae: Add all the stir fried veggies, along with beef and omelette strips, on top of Japchae noodles in your serving bowl. Pour in the rest of the japchae sauce and mix until everything is well combined. Taste and adjust for soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Garnish it with more sesame seeds.

    You can serve japchae hot, warm or at room temperature.

    everything mixed together in a bowl

    Storing and Leftovers

    Japchae is great as leftovers and can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Since you can serve it warm or at room temperature, you can make this ahead of time and serve it the next day.

    Simply reheat it in the microwave until the noodles get soft and turn translucent and slippery again.

    You can also reheat it in a frying pan with some oil and a splash of water until the noodles become translucent.

    Japchae is a unique Korean glass noodle stir fry that is often served at special occasions, and is also popular at parties and pot lucks.

    Can I Cook Japchae the “Quick” Way?

    If you ask that question to locals, plain NO is the answer you will get. They like to cook every vegetable individually, to its perfect crunchiness. It takes a little more time than when you stir fry all of the veggies together.

    After cooking japchae the traditional way, our take is yes, you can cook japchae in stir fry style if you know when to add the veggies and estimate their cooking time so they still retain their perfect crunch.

    The whole idea is not to overcook them and turn them into mush. So the faster way to cook japchae on busy weeknight is simply make a stir fry of all veggies and beef together, then add the cooked noodles to the stir fry. Faster, yet equally delicious Japchae version!!

    Japchae is a unique Korean glass noodle stir fry that is often served at special occasions, and is also popular at parties and pot lucks.

    There are so many hidden flavors in this world which we are completely unaware of. We love bringing these beautiful tastes right in to your home.

    You will absolutely fall in love with this Korean glass noodle stir fry once you give this unique recipe a try. We personally can’t have enough of these stunning and fun glass noodles.

    Make a huge batch. Make it with your friends and family, and get them involved in the whole process of prepping and cooking it together. It’s meant for celebration and togetherness. Bring that slurp on. Get in the JAPCHAE MOOD, like us…

    Japchae, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    bowl of japchae atop the Gypsy Plate

    Try these other great Asian inspired recipes!
    Korean Ground Pork Soup
    Ground Turkey Stir Fry
    Vietnamese Shaking Beef
    Thai Basil Fried Rice
    Korean Ground Beef
    Pork Stir Fry
    Gado Gado
    Bun Cha

    featured image for japchae post

    Japchae (Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry)

    Yield: 4-6 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 25 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes

    Japchae is a unique Korean glass noodle stir fry that is often served at special occasions, and is also popular at parties and pot lucks.

    Ingredients

    Beef Marination

    • 1lb beef (ribeye or sirloin), cut into thin strips
    • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 Tbsp rice wine
    • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp pepper

    For Vegetables and Omlette

    • 1/2 onion, sliced
    • 4-5 scallions, cut into strips
    • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
    • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
    • 1/2 carrot, julienne cut
    • 7-8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    • 12oz spinach
    • 2 large eggs (or 4 small), lightly beaten
    • salt
    • oil

    For the Noodles

    • 14 to 16oz Korean sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon)

    For Japchae Sauce

    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 1/3 cup honey or sugar
    • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds + more for garnishing
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper

    Instructions

    To Marinate the beef

    1. Mix in all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinate the beef strips in the marinade while you prep the rest of the dish. ( Alternately, you can marinate the meat in the morning)

    To Make Japchae Sauce

    1. Combine all the ingredients for japchae sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, sesame seeds, black pepper) in a bowl and keep it aside.

    To Cook Noodles

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Korean sweet potato glass noodles and boil them according to the package directions, about 6 to 10 minutes.
    2. Remove the noodles with a big sieve, and transfer them to a large serving bowl. (DO NOT discard the water, as you’ll cook the spinach in it). If you prefer, cut the noodles little a shorter to make them easier to mix and eat.
    3. Mix 1/4 of the japchae sauce with the noodles and toss well. This will prevent the noodles from sticking to each other, and allow them to absorb a beautiful color.

    To Cook Japchae Toppings

    1. Add the spinach to the boiling water from the noodles. Cook for about 10-15 seconds, so as to wilt it a bit. Transfer spinach with tongs or slotted spoon from the boiling water to ice water immediately. Squeeze the out water from spinach gently. Set it aside on a platter large enough to hold all of the cooked veggies later.
    2. While the water is boiling, you can prep and cook your veggies. Make sure to cook each vegetable separately, starting with the light-colored ones and ending with the dark-colored ones (this is the authentic way to cook japchae, rather than stir frying all of the vegetables together).
    3. Heat 1-2 tsp oil in large pan and sauté sliced onion and scallions with pinch of salt until tender and remove it to the platter.
    4. In the same pan, sauté mushrooms, followed by carrots, then bell peppers separately, each with a pinch of salt. Plate them out separately on the platter. Cook each just 3-4 minutes, so as to retain the crunch.
    5. Make the omelette: Heat 2 tsp oil and add beaten eggs. Swirl the skillet so the eggs cover the whole skillet in a thin layer. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until set, then flip over and cook for another minute. Plate it out. Roll the omelette and cut it into thin strips or ribbons.
    6. Now finally time to cook beef. Heat 2-3 tsp oil and add the marinated beef. Sauté until cooked throughout. We cook it for about 5-6 minutes. Transfer it to the veggie platter.

    To Assemble the Japchae

    1. Add all the stir fried veggies, along with beef and omelette strips, on top of Japchae noodles in your serving bowl. Pour in the rest of the japchae sauce and mix until everything is well combined. Taste and adjust for soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Garnish it with more sesame seeds. You can serve japchae hot, warm or at room temperature.

    Notes

    1. This is the authentic way to cook Korean Glass Noodles Stir Fry, cooking each vegetable individually. Saying that, you can cook this as a regular stir fry by cooking all veggies together in the same pan to save time.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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