Japchae (Korean Stir-Fried Starch Noodles with Beef and Vegetables)

Made with sweet potato starch noodles, dangmyeon, beef and various vegetables, japchae (or chapchae) is a classic Korean dish everyone loves! Find out how to make authentic, delicious japchae with this time tested, readers’ favorite recipe!
 
Korean starch noodles with beef and vegetables
 
What is japchae?
Japchae (잡채) literally means “mixed vegetables.” But the main ingredient of this classic dish is Korean sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon), also known as glass noodles.
 
The chewy and springy noodles are nicely paired with thin strips of beef and various vegetables (such as carrots, spinach, onions, shiitake mushrooms, cucumbers, and bell peppers). 

How to make japchae

All ingredients, separately cooked to develop the layers of flavor, are combined at the end into a deliciously colorful dish. This classic method is what makes this dish special and a Korean favorite for special occasions and traditional holidays.

Korean starch noodles with beef and vegetables

The real secret to successfully creating the authentic flavors of this dish is to find the right balance between soy sauce and sugar. This japchae recipe will give you that right balance! 

Serve it as a first course or side dish or over a bed of rice to make it a main dish.

More japchae recipe

Kongnamul japchae (Soybean sprout japchae)

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Japchae
4.64 from 22 votes
Korean starch noodles with beef and vegetables
Japchae
Korean Stir-Fried Starch Noodles with Beef and Vegetables
Servings: 4
Author: Hyosun Ro
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces 170 grams Korean potato starch noodles (dangmyeon, 당면)
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 scallions
  • 4 ounces 110 grams lean beef (sirloin or rib eye)
  • 4 - 5 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked until plump - see note
  • 6 ounces 170 grams fresh spinach
  • vegetable oil for stir frying
  • salt and pepper
  • Japchae noodles
Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds
  • Egg garnish jidan - optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
    Japchae sauce
  2. Cut the carrot into match sticks. Thinly slice the onion. Cut the scallions into similar lengths.
    Japchae
  3. Cut the beef into thin 2-inch long strips and mix with 1 tablespoon of the sauce. Cut the stems off the mushrooms, and slice into 1/4-inch thin strips. Season with 1 tablespoon of the sauce.
    Japchae
  4. Blanch the spinach in boiling water only until wilted. Drain quickly and shock in cold water. Squeeze out excess water, cut into about 2-inch lengths, and lightly season with salt and pepper.
    Japchae
  5. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the noodles according to the package directions (usually 6 - 7 minutes). Rinse in cold water and drain. Cut the noodles with kitchen shears or a knife into 6 -7 inch lengths. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the prepared sauce in a large bowl.
    Japchae
  6. In a large non-stick skillet, stir fry the noodles over medium heat, stirring frequently, until translucent and a bit sticky (about 4 minutes). Transfer back to the bowl.
    Japchae noodles
  7. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the pan, and stir fry the onion until translucent over medium high heat, lightly sprinkling with salt and pepper. When the onion is almost done, stir-in the scallion and cook briefly. Transfer to the bowl with the noodles. Stir fry the carrot for 1 to 2 minutes until softened. (Do not overcook. The vegetables should be crisp.) Transfer to the bowl.
    Japchae
  8. Stir fry the beef and mushrooms together until the meat is cooked through, 2 - 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl.
    Japchae
  9. Add the spinach and the remaining sauce to the bowl with all other prepared ingredients.
    Japchae
  10. Toss well by hand. Adjust the seasoning to taste by adding a little more (start with 1/2 teaspoon) soy sauce and/or sugar as necessary.
    Japchae
Recipe Notes

Dried shiitake is ideal for its concentrated flavor and meatier texture, but you can use any kind of fresh/dried mushrooms such as oyster or button mushrooms.
Leftover japchae should be kept refrigerated. Japchae reheats well in the microwave. The noodles will get soft and chewy again.

 

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Comments

  1. I just made this on Saturday and it was SOOO DELICIOUS!!! I didn't use beef or the shiitake mushrooms (i dont like mushrooms) but it still tasted incredible and I didn't stop eating until I was 3rd trimester food pregnant!

    thank you soo much for the recipe :)
  2. I am so glad to hear you liked it. Thanks for trying my recipe!
  3. Made this for dinner tonight - fantastic. Thanks mom!

    Chris
  4. You're welcome! Happy to hear it turned out well for you.
  5. This was so good! Made them for dinner with ingredients I have at home (w/o bell pepper, scallions and added strips of egg omelette). It was so delicious. And you are right about the composition of salt & sugar to make the dish flavourful. Really enjoyed it - thank you for sharing!
  6. Thank you, Lisa, for letting me know how it turned out for you! Glad to hear you liked it. It's great that you made it with whatever you had in your fridge. Japchae is that versatile. Cheers!
  7. I just made this on Friday. For more color, I used purple-potato dangmyun. It was pretty:) Aside from my totally over-blanching the spinch(I walked away:/bad idea), everything came out just dandy. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us!
    • Happy to hear that! Thanks for letting me know. I have to try purple dangmyun. I bet it was pretty. I do that (walk away or try to do something else) too sometimes when I blanch something. Happy cooking!
  8. Lilluz says:
    I shared it with my friends and we all enjoyed it very much! My Korean husband commented that your recipe has a deep flavor similar to authentic japchae! Thank you :)
  9. ahn hee dong says:
    정말 맛있겠습니다. 감사합니다, 페이스북에 공유하겠습니다.
  10. Anonymous says:
    made this last night for my family, my youngest ate every tiny bit, and he is not a vegetable fan but he just kept eating... thank you soo much, I have introduced my children to Korean food via your recipes and now we honestly don't eat much else.....
    gam sa hap ni da!
  11. Anonymous says:
    This dish is utterly delicious !!! I've never had Korean dish before but this dish is really amazing :P :P
  12. I know this is an old post but...I just tried this recipe yesterday and it was amazing. I foresee myself making it very often. Thank you for sharing it!
    • My pleasure, Sarah! I'm very happy to hear it turned out well for you. I'm sure other readers will be inspired to make this dish by your comment. Thanks for letting me know!
  13. I must try this and will come back to let you know how it went
  14. Nicole kim says:
    Just made this a minute ago and this recipe is a excellent! Thank you so much for posting this.
  15. monica ^^ says:
    I have made this dish numerous times because I loved it that much~ Though I had a few difficult moments in balancing the soy sauce and sugar ( I used Shoyu. It turns out to overpower the sugar and sesame oil) today I got the perfect combination of brands to use and just had to post this comment. 감사합니다~
  16. monica ^^ says:
    I have made this dish numerous times because I loved it that much~ Though I had a few difficult moments in balancing the soy sauce and sugar ( I used Shoyu. It turns out to overpower the sugar and sesame oil) today I got it down perfect! 감사합니다~
  17. Aina Zye says:
    hi, i want to ask if i use another type of noodles like glass noodles..can i still make this recipe? i want to make it but i dont know if i can use the glass noodles..huhu
    • Japchae noodles are made with sweet potato starch, but any starch noodles with the elasticity should be fine. Enjoy!
  18. Can I use chicken instead of beef?
  19. Wow, what a great blog and what great recipes you have! I made this japchae last night and it was delicious! My husband and I couldn't stop eating it. I've been wanting to make japchae for years now and was excited to find your very helpful step-by-step directions. I also appreciated that you included a photo of the dried noodle package. Thank you for making Korean food easy for a Korean-American who is just starting to learn how to make food like my Mom makes!
  20. Hi Hyosun! Thank you for posting this delicious recipe. I have prepared Japchae several times...exactly as written :-). My boyfriend asked me to make it spicy. I have never eaten or heard of spicy japchae. Is there a spicy version? Thank you!
  21. Shienna Mae Barrett says:
    best Japchae recipe I have tried! A favourite dish that has a spot in my cooking journal 😊🙂☺️.Thank you for sharing
  22. Love it!! First time I tried cooking this and although took me a while, the result is spot on. Now I don't need to pay to eat this at a restaurant. Thank you so much.
  23. This was so delicious!! I’m making a big bowl of it for a pot luck. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE IT WAS AMAZING!! ❤️❤️
  24. Thank you for the recipe. I made your japchae on the Dec. 23 for dinner for visiting family. They loved it and the leftovers for breakfast. Super easy to follow instructions and your sauce is great. Delicious.
  25. Excellent recipes! Taste authentic and easy to make! 🤗
  26. Michelle says:
    Hi! Thank you so much for this recipe! My husband and I love this dish, and used to have to order it from restaurants. Your recipe was the first time I tried making this dish myself and it's amazing! My husband was actually giggling as he tried his first bite because he thought that it was delicious and he was glad that we don't have to pay to order this dish anymore. I loved watching him eat it because it made him so happy. When I asked him what he thought of it, he said, "It's SO GOOD! YUM!" We both LOVE your recipe! Thank you again for sharing it!!!
  27. I made your version of Japchae tonight. It was delicious! I never thought of adding egg before. I did this time and it gave it a better taste. My mom, who was full blooded korean, used to make this dish all of the time but we just called it clear noodles. Lol. Thank you for your recipe.
  28. Thank you my husband loved this and between the two of us we finished “6 servings”!
  29. I am going to make this tonight. I can't wait.
  30. Amazing recipe! Thank you so much
  31. Delicious!! Great recipe!! Thank you!! Didn't use beef but still tasted great! Am pregnant and not able to stomach much food, but this went down really well!!
  32. Susan Hamada says:
    Just made your Japchae recipe using watercress instead of spinach. Turned out great!
  33. Fantastic....!!, l impressed my korean co-workers when l brought this for lunch w/enough to share.. even better when paired with kimchee
  34. Jerry clark says:
    This recipe is spot on the best. This lady can rock the kitchen with her recipes.
  35. Easy to follow directions. I’ve made this recipe 3 times, substituting chicken, and it turned out perfectly delicious! It was a hit with my family as well.