Japchae is one of the most iconic noodle dishes in Korea. Traditionally it is served at parties or celebrations, but as it’s so popular it’s not uncommon to find it served on other occasions. It is served as a side dish, but I prefer just eating it as a main. It is delicious and absolutely addictive.
This recipe serves 6-8 people as a side or 2-4 as a main. It keeps well in the fridge, but I doubt you’ll have any leftover. As an added bonus, this dish calls for sweet potato noodles, which are delicious and good for you!
8 Ounces of Sweet Potato Noodles (Korean Vermicelli/ Korean Glass Noodles)
1/2 Bunch of Spinach (about 5 ounces), rinsed and trimmed
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
6 Ounces of Beef Strips, cut into smaller pieces
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce plus 1 teaspoon extra
1/4 Onion, sliced
4 Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced lengthwise
1 Carrot, julienned/cut into thin strips
3 Green Onions, cut into 1inch pieces
1/4 cup sugar
Toasted sesame seeds
- Cook the noodles in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook, it should be slightly chewy in texture. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Drop the spinach into a pot boiling water for 10 seconds, remove and place into a bowl with ice water immediately. Squeeze the water from the spinach and form a ball. Cut in half. Mix the spinach with half the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for flavors to develop.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet/ wok. Add the beef, garlic, 1 teaspoon soy and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Stir fry for 4-6 minutes. Add the onion, mushroom, bell pepper and carrot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the green onion and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, mix the remaining sesame oil and soy sauce with the sugar. Add the sesame seeds to the mixture.
- In a large bowl combine the noodles, vegetables, spinach and beef. Dress with the soy sauce mixture. It’s important to mix this well.
- Serve warm.
Hot tip: Traditionaly Japchae gets mixed by hand in the final stage. Wear some plastic gloves and mix your Japchae by hand to ensure evenly dressed noodles and well incorporated flavors.