Seasoned simply with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, japchae is a noodle dish perfect for a light lunch or dinner–i.e., when you want something satisfying but not too heavy, and/or are tired of an endless parade of salads.
In fact, if you were to pack these noodles up in a few containers for the beach or an outdoor picnic, you’d totally be winning at life. Many readers have requested a japchae recipe from us, so this one is long overdue!
Check out some of our other easy Korean recipes here.
Note: This recipe was originally published in June 2017, and has been republished with updates!
What is Japchae?
Japchae is a simple Korean noodle dish jam-packed with a rainbow of vegetables and accented with a hit of flank steak.
Japchae is made with Korean potato starch glass noodles, which are surprisingly light, and completely gluten-free!
(That’s kind of like saying that popcorn is gluten free, as if it’s some kind of brilliant food science workaround, but now you know without a shadow of a doubt.)
As is the case with many of our favorite Chinese dishes, this Japchae recipe is a bit heavy on the chopping, but once you’re over that hump, it’s pretty easy to put together.
Do yourself a favor and do what I did–make a big batch! These noodles are pretty great cold or reheated the next day.
Japchae Recipe Instructions
Mix the beef together with 1 clove of the garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
Prepare the vegetables, and set aside.
Cook the noodles for 7 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Strain and cut with kitchen scissors so that they’re a little shorter. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sugar to the noodles. Toss thoroughly.
Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry the onion and carrot with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until tender, but still a little crunchy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and add the mushrooms. Cook until caramelized, and transfer to the mixing bowl along with the onion and carrot. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and cook the red peppers until tender. Add in the spinach, scallions, and the remaining garlic. Cook the entire mixture until the scallions and spinach are wilted. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the other vegetables.
Turn up your heat to high, and add the beef to the pan. Stir-fry for a couple minutes until the beef is no longer pink.
Transfer the noodles and the beef to the mixing bowl…
Along with the sesame seeds.
Add 3 teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the mixing bowl full of ingredients.
Toss to combine all the ingredients together and serve this Korean Japchae noodles hot!
Japchae has just the right amount of salty sweetness that is characteristic of Korean cooking!