Looking for an easy japchae recipe? Here is how to make my mom’s authentic Korean glass noodles.
My husband, Jacob, used to love Japchae until one day, he told my mom he loved her Japchae. And then, on every subsequent visit, my parents would bring over a Costco-sized tray. Never tell an Asian parent you love their dish unless you’re prepared to eat gluttonous amounts whenever you see them.
They may never say they love you, but food is their love language, and it’s always funny to hear similar stories among our Asian friends. Now that it’s been many years that we’ve lived away from my parents, I’m starting to add it back into our recipe rotation.
What is Japchae or Korean Glass Noodles?
Japchae (잡채) is a sweet and savory sweet potato glass noodles dish stir-fried with various vegetables, meat, and mushrooms. It used to be a royal dish and was originally served without noodles. It wasn’t until China introduced sweet potato starch noodles to Korea that it became popular among the common folk like us. Today, it’s served as an appetizer or main. You’ll find them often at potlucks, celebrations, and other get-togethers.
How to Make Mom’s Easy Japchae Recipe (잡채 레시피)
How to Make Mom’s Easy Japchae RecipeCourse: Appetizers, MainCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy
This easy japchae recipe is great for anyone getting into Korean food.
1.1 lb or 500 g Sweet Potato Noodles (잡채 당면)
1/4 lb or 4 oz Beef, Top Sirloin, thinly sliced
5 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup Onion, sliced
6 Shitake Mushrooms or Button, thinly sliced
2 Eggs, fried and sliced
1 Green Pepper, sliced
1 Red Pepper, sliced
1 Carrot, thinly sliced
Pink Japanese fish cake or Kamaboko, thinly sliced (optional)
5 Tbsp Soy Sauce + 1 tsp for marinade
5 Tbsp Brown Sugar + 1 tsp for marinade
1/2 tsp Beef Dashida Stock Powder (optional)
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp Salt + more to taste
Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil for pan
- Soak the noodles in water for one hour.
- Slice beef into thin strips.
- Marinate the beef in 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp brown sugar, and 1 tsp minced garlic (and 1/4 tsp beef Dashida optional)
- Fry eggs with a pinch of salt, and let it cool.
- Slice vegetables, mushrooms, and eggs into thin, long strips.
- Sautee remaining garlic and onions until brown.
- Add beef and mushrooms, saute together, and remove to a bowl.
- In the same pan, saute peppers and carrots.
- Put noodles in boiling water and remove after one minute.
- In a large pot, add noodles, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, cooked vegetables, and mushrooms (and optional fish cake). Mix well.
- Mix in eggs at the end since they break apart easily.
Mom’s Notes and Substitutions
- You can take out the beef and fish cake and make this recipe vegetarian or vegan.
- If you don’t add enough sesame oil to the noodles, they will stick together and break apart as you mix them.
- Start with 4 Tbsp of soy sauce and 4 Tbsp brown sugar. Then add more soy sauce and brown sugar at a 1:1 ratio to taste. I added 1 Tbsp of each until I got the desired taste. I ended up with 5 Tbsp of each, but sometimes different brands of soy sauce and sugars are saltier and sweeter than others.
- If you don’t like the color of the noodles turning so dark brown, some people like to add more salt instead of soy sauce.
- My mom likes to add different colored peppers to make the dish more colorful, but you can use one type of pepper.
- Some people add a jalapeno pepper to give it some heat.
- It took me 3 hours to make this recipe my first time, but I was also scrambling to find all the ingredients and forgot to pre-soak my noodles. If you’re good at prepping your ingredients, it should take far less time. You have enough time to soak your noodles while preparing everything else.
How did you enjoy this easy Japchae recipe?
My mom took a lot of the photos with her phone, which she’s getting so much better at. The next time I shoot this recipe, I’ll replace these photos with ones I take with my DSLR.