This Japchae recipe is made with sweet potato glass noodles so it’s grain/gluten-free. You can make it with proteins or be vegetarian. It is a classic Korean dish that everyone loves. It’s a great holiday dish or a pot luck dish to bring to a party.
What Is Japchae?
Japchae literally means a “collection of vegetables” and this popular dish that originated in the 17th century didn’t actually include noodles then.
Japchae, Korean Sweet potato Noodles, is one of the most popular Korean dishes there is. Every time I take non-Korean friends out to restaurants, that’s what they want to order. Also, it’s the most often requested dish for a pot luck dinner.
But to be honest, I have a love/hate feeling towards it. Why? Because it takes so long to prepare and it only takes one quick slurping of the noodles to finish the whole thing.
No kidding. There’s never any leftovers. That’s how good it is.
This noodle dish is so versatile because you can make it vegetarian by omitting beef. Or if you don’t eat beef, you can add chicken too. I sometimes like to add shredded cabbages or broccoli florets to get more veggies on the plate.
All of the specific ingredient amounts and steps are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post – just scroll down. First, I’m going to share some information about the ingredients and the recipe.
I used a 4-ounce rib eye steak that I cut into thin strips. I also marinated it so it came out really juicy and tender. You can use any protein that you want – fish, tofu, even chicken or pork.
Japchae Recipe Noodles
The sweet potato vermicelli or Dangmyun can be found in most Asian markets or on Amazon. Just be aware that the package is very large. Don’t be intimidated by the size though. The dried noodles tend to take up a big volume so the package is huge.
Again, the noodles are hard and brittle. The color is almost transparent but has a tinge of grey color. The noodles are folded in half (because they are long) and will be in a long package. Make sure it’s made ONLY with sweet potato starch and no added wheat or rice starch.
Use your favorite vegetables in this dish. If you have some that you always use in stir-fry, use them.
Here is what I used:
- Garlic cloves
- Baby spinach
- Red Bell Pepper
This is the most important part. I used classic Korean spices and made my own marinade for the beef in this Japchae recipe. Here are the spices that I used:
- Soy Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Sesame Seeds
This is an entire meal in one skillet. It has protein, noodles, and veggies. If you want to leave out the meat, you can serve it as a side-dish alongside a steak.
Yes, it’s possible to freeze Japchae if you want to make it ahead of time. It will all freeze in a large clump, so when you reheat it, just add a bit of water to help it heat up correctly.
Trust me, it’s a lot easier to buy them. If you want to make sweet potato noodles (not the glass kind) you can use a spiralizer, but they won’t be see-through and won’t have the same texture.
If you enjoyed this Japchae recipe, then you will love these Korean recipes too.
Japchae Recipe – Korean Glass Noodles Stir Fry
- Large mixing bowl
- Large sauté pan
- 8 oz dry sweet potato vermicelli or cellophane vermicelli
- 4 oz rib eye steak cut in strips
- 4 tbsp avocado or neutral oil divided, for pan frying
- 2 tsp sea salt add a pinch while sautéing the following vegetables
- 1 med onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz baby spinach
- 1 med carrot julienned in 2″ lengths
- ½ red bell pepper sliced in strips
- 1 c sliced mushrooms shiitake or white mushrooms
- 7 scallions cut in 3" lengths on bias.
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or Tamari or Coconut Aminos
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ tsp sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 tbsp soy sauce tamari or coconut aminos
- ½ tsp toasted sesame seed oil
- ½ tsp mirin
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- Soak two large bunches of dried noodles in cold water.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the beef marinade and beef and set aside.
- While noodles are soaking, boil a large pot of water. When water boils, cook the noodles for about 3-4 minutes. Cook until the noodles are soft but not mushy.
- Take the noodles out of the pot, and rinse under the COLD running water thoroughly.
- Drain the noodles and place them in a large bowl. With the kitchen shears, roughly cut the noodles in a few places. You will add all the ingredients to this bowl so make sure it is large enough to accommodate all the ingredients.
- Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of avocado oil and when the oil is hot, sauté onions until the color is translucent and the onion is soft. Add a pinch of salt to the onions and repeat with other vegetables while sautéing.
- Add garlic to the onions and sauté for one additional minute. Transfer the onions and garlic to the large bowl.
- Add more oil to the hot pan and sauté, Pepper, spinach, carrots, and mushrooms in order, while adding pinches of sea salt as you cook. When each vegetables are cooked, add them to the large bowl with noodles.
- Sauté the beef in the same pan with the rest of the oil for 2 minutes or until the color of the meat is opaque. Add the meat to the large bowl.
- Add the sliced scallions to the bowl.
- Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper, and mix the noodles and vegetables gently with your hands or tongues.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds before serving.