Sweet potato starch noodles stir fried with vegetables

Japchae 잡채

Japchae, sweet potato starch noodles stir fried with vegetables and meat, is one of Korea’s best-loved dishes, and one of the most popular on my website as well.

If anyone asks me to recommend a good potluck dish, I don’t hesitate to answer japchae for the simple reason that pretty much everyone loves it. At any gathering it’s hard to pass up these chewy, sweet, and slightly slippery noodles with colorful stir-fried vegetables and mushrooms, its irresistible sesame flavor, healthy amount of garlic, and light, refreshing taste.

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Stir frying each ingredient separately seems like a lot of labor, but each one requires a different cooking time and a bit of care, and keeping the color and freshness of each ingredient intact makes for a stunning final presentation. An easy way to make it even prettier and more nutritious is to use more vegetables and less noodles, although this is hard to recommend because the noodles are delicious by themselves.

Let me know if you make this at a party! Double, triple, quadruple the ingredients and let everyone taste your japchae!

Ingredients

 (serves 4):

  • 4 ounces beef, filet mignon (or pork shoulder), cut into ¼ inch wide and 2½ inch long strips
  • 2 large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 2 to 3 hours, cut into thin strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces spinach, washed and drained
  • 4 ounces of dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)
  • 2 to 3 green onions, cut crosswise into 2 inch long pieces
  • 1 medium onion (1 cup), sliced thinly
  • 4 to 5 white mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium carrot (¾ cup), cut into matchsticks
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (optional)
  • ground black pepper
  • salt
  • vegetable oil

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Directions

Marinate the beef and mushrooms

  1. Put the beef and shiitake mushrooms into a bowl and mix with 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil with a wooden spoon or by hand. Cover and keep it in the fridge.shiitakejapchae seasoning

Make the egg garnish (jidan):

  1. Crack the egg and separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Remove the white stringy stuff (chalaza) from the yolk. Beat in a pinch of salt with a fork.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to a heated nonstick pan. Swirl the oil around so it covers the pan, and then wipe off the excess heated oil with a kitchen towel so only a thin layer remains on the pan.
  3. To keep the jidan as yellow as possible, turn off the heat and pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan. Tilt it around so the mixture spreads thinly. Let it cook using the remaining heat in the pan for about 1 minute. Flip it over and let it sit on the pan for 1 more minute.japchae egg garnish
  4. Let it cool and slice it into thin strips.

Prepare the noodles and vegetables:japchae vegetables

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then take it out with a slotted spoon or strainer. Let the water keep boiling to cook the noodles.
  2. Rinse the spinach in cold water to stop it from cooking. Squeeze it with your hands to remove any excess water. Cut it a few times and put it into a bowl. Mix with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Put it into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Put the noodles into the boiling water, cover and cook for 1 minute. Stir them with a wooden spoon so they don’t stick together. Cover and keep cooking for another 7 minutes until the noodles are soft and chewy.
  4. Strain and cut them a few times with kitchen scissors. Put the noodles into the large bowl next to the spinach. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Mix well by hand or a wooden spoon. This process will season the noodles and also keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
  5. Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil with the onion, the green onion, and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry about 2 minutes until the onion looks a little translucent. Transfer to the noodle bowl.
  6. Heat up the skillet again and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Add the white mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until softened and a little juicy. Transfer to the noodle bowl.
  7. Heat up the skillet and add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Add the carrot and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add the red bell pepper strips and stir-fry another 20 seconds. Transfer to the noodle bowl.
  8. Heat up the skillet and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Add the beef and mushroom mixture and stir fry for a few minutes until the beef is no longer pink and the mushrooms are softened and shiny. Transfer to the noodle bowl.japchae beef

Mix and serve:

  1. Add 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to the mixing bowl full of ingredients. Mix all together by hand.japchae (잡채)
  2. Add the egg garnish and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Mix it and transfer it to a large plate and serve.

japchae (잡채)

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415 Comments:

  1. Fiona983 Seattle, WA joined 5/17
    Posted May 19th, 2017 at 6:29 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I’m going to make this for my son’s bday party, how should I modify the ingredient amounts if I’m making this for a big crowd? Thanks!!

    Fiona

  2. fairygothmom Glen Cove, NY joined 1/11
    Posted May 3rd, 2017 at 4:55 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi, my daughter had all her wisdom teeth out and is so sick of mashed food so I made japchae for dinner with tofu instead of meat and bean starch noodles because I ran out of dangmyun. It was so yummy! I had to give up most Korean food recently because I cannot eat garlic or chiles anymore ;_; but this is something healthy I can still make and almost trick myself into thinking it’s just as good. Next time I want to use purple dangmyun if I can find them, so pretty! Thank you for your amazing recipes and videos!

  3. Kureiko Dahlgren, VA joined 4/17
    Posted April 19th, 2017 at 9:00 am | # |

    I’m in love with all your recipes Maangchi, but I kept putting off trying japchae. Not any longer, it was delcious! I’ll definitely be making this again and again.


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 24th, 2017 at 9:33 am | # |

      You made awesome colorful, nutritious, and delicious japchae! Congratulations!

  4. DeneC Chino, CA joined 3/17
    Posted March 8th, 2017 at 2:04 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    My husband and I made Japchae last night! It was our first time making Korean food. So yummy. <3

    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes :)

    -Dené

    P.s How does it look?


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 12th, 2017 at 2:33 pm | # |

      I love it, Dené! The noodles look soft and chewy! Yummy!

  5. baniaida malaysia joined 3/17
    Posted March 3rd, 2017 at 1:19 am | # |

    Hi maangchi…can i use fresh shitake mushroom instead of dried one

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 6th, 2017 at 10:23 am | # |

      Yes, you can use fresh shiitake mushrooms.

  6. Sashamay23 Vancouver,wa joined 2/17
    Posted February 15th, 2017 at 11:28 pm | # |

    This was my 2nd Japchae attempt… and this one was a huge hit with my family! Way closer to the flavor I was trying to get (similar to a local Korean restaurant but slightly less kick)..
    thanks so much! I served it with rice and bean sprouts :) hubby and one of the kids even went back for seconds!
    saving is recipe for future dinners for sure!

  7. Chayote Singapore joined 2/17
    Posted February 4th, 2017 at 1:35 am | # |

    hello maangchi,
    i bought korean soy sauce last week n happily made my first japchae. i followed your recipe religiously. It turned out awesome, smell and look wise, just like restaurant made. But it was not salty at all, so I have to keep adding soy sauce. juz when i was wondering what could have gone wrong,I looked at the soy sauce bottle and realized i bought the 25% less salt version. silly me! . anyhow thanks for the wonderful recipe, it will be one of my regulars on the dning table from now on.

    • fairygothmom Glen Cove, NY joined 1/11
      Posted May 3rd, 2017 at 4:46 pm | # |

      I use low-salt soy sauce because I have trouble finding one without high fructose corn syrup, and I am pre-diabetic. I find it’s better to add plain salt to adjust the taste rather than keep adding soy sauce because it will have too strong a taste and can overpower other flavors.

  8. cwrightaso Springfield OR joined 9/16
    Posted January 15th, 2017 at 6:05 pm | # |

    Japchae

    Maangchi, I made this dish for our church potluck on New Year’s Eve.
    I labeled it so people knew what it was.
    It was gone in a flash.
    Thanks so much for your recipes. It’s opened my mind to a whole new cuisine.


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  9. megrog94 Kearney, NE joined 1/17
    Posted January 11th, 2017 at 1:06 pm | # |

    I hope to try this recipe this week. It looks really good. Are there any other recipes that use sweet potato noodles or they used exclusively for japchae?

  10. divinekitten joined 10/15
    Posted December 28th, 2016 at 8:57 pm | # |

    Thank you very much for the recipe, Maangchi! Been craving it for days & finally had the guts to try making this and I love it! :)


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  11. beckaivans joined 10/15
    Posted December 9th, 2016 at 10:35 am | # |

    Thank you Maangchi!!! I was visiting my family this weekend, and I never get to see them, so I wanted to make something delicious to impress them. My mom is a very good cook, so it’s not an easy task.

    Your japchae was the first thing that came to mind. I’ve made this a few times and my boyfriend and I love them. I knew my family would like them too, so I made a huge batch for everyone. The japchae was awesome.

    Everyone loved it! My mom loved all the fresh vegitables, and my dad and brother loved how flavorful and tender the beef was. Plus I finally got the egg garnish right! I wish I got a picture but my family was very hungry :)

    I have a holiday hall party coming up for work, and I will make this again to serve cold. I have a co worker who is very allergic to gluten, and can’t have regular noodles. But I found out that you can find sweet potato starch noodles that are totally gluten free! She will be so excited to have delicious noodles that are safe for her to eat!

  12. Boohjoy Spain joined 12/16
    Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 3:18 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I just made my first japchae and it was a success!
    Thank you for sharing your recipes and techniques.
    It really made cooking easy for us non-koreans. I can’t wait to try your other recipes.
    Aja aja, fighting!


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 5:32 am | # |

      Your japchae looks perfect! Congratulations!

  13. Jeonju Genie Jeonju joined 11/16
    Posted November 15th, 2016 at 2:05 am | # |

    Great , Manchi.. Even though you are not in Korea, your recipe is real, authentic..Thanks for your great efforts to share these amazing Korean culture.. I love Japchae.. I will try it again with your recipe..!!

  14. Oxide California joined 2/15
    Posted October 27th, 2016 at 9:57 pm | # |

    Another great recipe from Maangchi. The take-away here is the various cuts and the various cooking times for the various veggies. All of it is spot on. I cheated – I went to the bulk salad section and grabbed a handful of pre-washed baby spinach leaves … it is just a convenience thing. I normally do not eat sugar so the recipe seemed a little bit sweet to me. Next time I will dial-back the final add of 1-tbls of sugar. The sweet potato starch noodles are wonderful!!! I like them better than rice noodles. Oh, Maangchi, instead of $10 worth of filet mignon do you think I can substitute a handful of live, small frogs from the garden?

  15. Hello maangchi,
    Can I use rice noodles instead of the sweet potato starch noodles???

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