Stir-fried noodles and vegetables

Easy japchae 잡채

Korean japchae, sweet potato starch noodles stir fried with vegetables, is a popular and delicious dish that pretty much everyone likes. I never saw someone who tasted it for the first time who didn’t like it right away. That’s a high compliment! This recipe is for a quick and easy version of japchae that takes only 10 minutes to cook but tastes just as good as the traditional way.

I posted a recipe for japchae years ago and it has been popular on my website and YouTube among millions of people. The only complaint I ever got was that it takes a long time to prepare every ingredient properly. We need to do this so the ingredients keep their flavor, texture and color when they are eventually mixed together. The result is delicious but time consuming.

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But over the last few years I have been trying to find a way to make japchae quicker, altogether in one pot. I did a lot of experiments and a lot of trials. Finally I figured out a way to do it, it’s pretty simple but the order of adding the ingredients is kind of my own science. The vegetables and mushrooms go on the bottom of the pot so they don’t easily burn, and all the vegetables are covered in a light coating of cooking oil which keeps them from going brown from the seasoning sauce.

In this way I make japchae in 10 minutes all in my 6.5 quart large and heavy pot. The recipe is featured in my new cookbook. Already a lot of people have made it and tell me they love it! I always make japchae this way now, I never make it in the traditional way. It’s perfect for a family meal of 4 to 6 servings, but anything larger then that my traditional japchae recipe will be better and more manageable.

Enjoy the recipe and enjoy your time-saving japchae!japchae (Korean stir-fried noodles with vegetables, meat, and mushrooms) 잡채

Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6

For meat (optional):

  • 8 ounces’ pork belly (pork shoulder), beef, or chicken, cut into 2½-inch-long strips
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown (or white) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

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For gyeran-jidan egg garnish (optional):

  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For seasoning sauce:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown (or white) sugar
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

For noodles, vegetables, and mushrooms:

Directions

Marinate and cook meat (optional):

  1. Combine your choice of meat, the soy sauce, brown (or white) sugar, and sesame oil in a bowl. Mix well by hand until the sugar is well melted. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet and cook the marinated meat, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 4 to 5 minutes until cooked thoroughly.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Make egg garnish (optional):

  1. Whisk the eggs and salt in a bowl, then strain into another bowl so it’s totally smooth. Discard the stringy bits remaining in the strainer.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and swirl it around to evenly coat the skillet.
  3. Wipe off the excess oil with a paper towel. Turn down the heat to low and add the egg mixture to the skillet. Lift and tilt the skillet around so that the egg spreads into a large circle that covers the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Let it cook for a minute until the bottom of the egg pancake is lightly cooked but not brown.
  5. Flip the egg pancake and remove from the heat. Let it cook by the heat remaining in the skillet for a few minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
  6. Let the pancake cool for a few minutes, then slice it into thin strips.  Cover the strips with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

Make seasoning sauce:

  1. Combine the soy sauce, brown (or white) sugar, ground black pepper, and garlic in a bowl and mix well with a spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and set aside.

Put the japchae together in the pot:

  1. Drain the wood ear mushrooms and put them on your cutting board. Cut off the tough stems and discard them. Cut the caps into bite-size pieces and put them into the pot.
  2. Add the king oyster mushrooms, carrot, and onion to the pot.
  3. Add ¼ cup vegetable oil and ¼ cup water to the pot. Mix well everything in the pot with both hands so that all the vegetables and mushrooms are nicely coated with oil. This will not only prevent the ingredients from turning brown from the seasoning sauce, but will also keep them from burning when you cook.
  4. Spread the spinach over top in an even layer.
  5. Drain the noodles and cut them into 5- to 6-inch lengths with scissors. Place them on top of the spinach in the pot.
  6. Drizzle the seasoning sauce on top of the noodles.
  7. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat.
  8. Open the lid and stir and gently toss all the ingredients with a wooden spoon and tongs for 1 to 2 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated and the noodles are nicely cooked and shiny.
  9. Add the cooked meat (if using), 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Gently toss the mixture so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Transfer to a large platter.

Serve:

  1. Garnish with the egg paper strips (if using) and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, and serve.
  2. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat, stir-fry in a skillet with a few tablespoons water or vegetable oil.japchae (Korean stir-fried noodles with vegetables, meat, and mushrooms) 잡채

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7 Comments:

  1. Nora Nero East Java, Indonesia joined 2/19 & has 13 comments

    Just wanna share some tips. To make a beautiful yellow gyeran jjidan, just add half teaspoon of mayonnaise for 2 eggs. The mayonnaise will help the jjidan to be bright sunny yellow in colour. Happy trying

  2. UniSushi US joined 8/16 & has 3 comments

    That’s the most beautiful spinach I’ve ever seen!

  3. HojuAjumma 호주 joined 12/19 & has 2 comments

    Maangchi-ssi,

    I want to ask you a question. Dangmyeon is very long and springy and difficult to separate. Is it possible to soak them, divide them and freeze the portions?

    잘 부탁드려요!
    호주 아줌마

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 208 comments

      Funny – the dangmyeon I usually get are only folded once resulting them to be only about double the length of the bag they come in – unlike Chinese noodles made from mungbeans.

      For the latter, I always used pliers originally intended to cut sheet metal.

      • HojuAjumma 호주 joined 12/19 & has 2 comments

        I can’t cut them with pliers as my wrists are too weak. And dangmyeon are always just a little bit too long to store in a container. In any case, I’ve frozen some soaked noodles to experiment, so I’ll find out soon enough anyway.

        • sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 208 comments

          How about broad clips to reseal the original bag?

          Merry Christmas!

        • tiamana Newton, MA joined 1/20 & has 1 comment

          Hello HojuAjumma, I read that you had tried freezing some soaked noodles. I was wondering what the results were. How did you thaw them? Did they still taste ok?
          I also froze some previously soaked noodles but am afraid that they may no longer be good.
          Thank you for your reply.

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