A Dive into Japchae: A Celebration of Korean Stir-Fried Glass Noodles

Take a deep breath, and let’s plunge right into a dive into japchae, a sumptuous dance of flavors where soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar play the lead. This delightful dish unfurls like a savory symphony, perfect when your taste buds are aching for a flavorful twist that isn’t too rich or, heavens forbid, another predictable salad.

Envision serving these scrumptious noodles at a beachside gathering or a casual alfresco lunch. You’ll find yourself soaking in compliments! We’ve been piling up requests for a Japchae recipe, and it’s about time we answered.

Don’t forget to explore our assortment of other user-friendly Korean recipes here.

Please note: This recipe saw its first light of day in June 2017, and we’re thrilled to revisit it with new touches!

Japchae Unraveled

Japchae, a fuss-free Korean noodle dish, boasts a plethora of colors from various vegetables, all tied together with thin slices of flank steak.

The noodle type used in Japchae is a unique Korean variant made from potato starch, impressively light and gloriously gluten-free! While it’s as apparent as stating popcorn is gluten-free, it’s still a neat tidbit for those navigating through gluten-free food choices.

This Japchae rendition, akin to many of our popular Chinese recipes, does require a fair bit of chopping initially. However, the subsequent steps are a walk in the park.

A little advice from someone who’s tried and tested – go big on the portion! These noodles retain their delectable charm when served cold or reheated the next day.

Guide to Crafting Japchae


  • 6 ounces flank steak (170g, cut into thin strips)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced and divided)
  • 6 teaspoons sugar (24g, separated)
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper (divided)
  • 4½ tablespoons soy sauce (67 ml, separated – tamari or gluten-free soy sauce can replace)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (and an extra 2 tablespoons, divided)
  • 1 onion (sliced into thin slivers)
  • 2 carrots (julienned)
  • 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms (sliced into thin segments)
  • 1 small red bell pepper (sliced into thin strips)
  • 4 ounces baby spinach (115g, roughly three large handfuls)
  • 3 scallions (cut into 3-inch segments and thinly sliced)
  • 10 ounces 280g dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


1. Begin by mixing the beef with one garlic clove, one teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, one tablespoon soy sauce, and one teaspoon of sesame oil.

2. Ready your vegetables and set them aside. Cook the noodles in boiling water for seven minutes. Strain them and give them a little snip to shorten. Add one tablespoon sesame oil, one tablespoon soy sauce, and two teaspoons sugar to the noodles. Toss well.

3. Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and carrot with a tablespoon of vegetable oil until they are tender yet retain a bit of crunch. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl. In the same pan, add another spoon of oil and sauté the mushrooms until they are caramelized. Move them to the bowl with the onion and carrot. In the same pan, add another spoon of oil and cook the red peppers until they are tender. Add the spinach, scallions, and remaining garlic. Stir until the spinach and scallions wilt, and then transfer this mixture to the bowl with the rest of the vegetables.

4. Switch the heat to high and add the beef to the pan. Stir-fry until the beef turns a nice brown. Add the noodles and the beef to the bowl, and sprinkle in the sesame seeds.

5. To the bowl of ingredients, add three teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, and one tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix well until the ingredients blend seamlessly, and then serve.

Japchae isn’t just about enticing your taste buds; it packs in nutritional value as well. The individual ingredients, like the flank steak and the array of vegetables, provide a balanced meal, including lean protein, essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, sesame oil not only enriches the flavor but also provides healthy fats.

Moreover, this recipe is flexible. You can replace the beef with tofu for a vegetarian version, or use tamari for a gluten-free variant. Such simple adjustments let you enjoy this versatile Korean delight tailored to your dietary requirements.

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