Sunday, November 8, 2009

Korean Recipe: Jap-chae (잡채) Korean Stirfried Noodles

If you're into Korean food, you've probably tried this delicious noodle dish at a Korean restaurant or even at home. Jap-Chae, Korean stirfried noodles, is known as a "party food" in Korea. At every wedding or at baby's first birthday party, you will find tons of these. It's got a lot of ingredients - mostly vegetables and one kind of meat - either pork or beef - with cellophane (yam) noodles. The taste of these noodles are very unique and flavorful. It is a little different from normal glass noodles. They're a lot darker than the white glass noodles. You will find these noodles at any Asian stores. If you don't have an Asian store nearby, I found out that you can order these online as well.

The origin of jap-chae goes way back. Jap-chae was a very special dish that many kings and royalty of old Korea enjoyed at special events. There's really not any "set" ingredients for this recipe, either. However, spinach, carrots, and the noodles are a must, other than that, you can just toss in your favorite vegetables. I've seen many people use bean sprouts, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, etc. So don't be discouraged if you don't have one or two of the ingredients I used. No big deal.

I used to have jap-chae on New Year's and Thanksgiving when we gave thanks to our ancestors. In Korea, they prepare traditional and special Korean dishes for our ancestors and care to their spirit (Koreans adopted the Confusionism and believe that the living should care to their dead ancestors' spirits with proper greeting and food 2-3 times a year, on special occasions such as New Year's, Thanksgiving (Chu-seok), the day the ancestors passed away, etc. They make many dishes and my mom would always make jap-chae with leftover vegetables afterward. It was always amazing!

So this was my first experience making jap-chae in America. And it turned out just like the ones that my mom used to make back in the days. I hope you all like the recipe, too!

Jap-chae (잡채) Korean Stirfried Noodles


24 oz Cellophane (yam) glass noodles (or 1 package)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 yellow onion, sliced in strips
1 portebella mushroom, sliced thinly (or 4-5 shitake mushrooms)
(optional) O-deng (fishcake), sliced very thinly
1 carrot, sliced very thinly
3 handfuls spinach
1 cup beef for stirfry (you can find beef that are ready for stirfry in thin strips), cut in small pieces
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sugar

Noodle marinade:
Olive oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Beef marinade:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar
1 teaspoon rice wine


Okay, don't panic! Just because there is a lot of ingredients and many steps to take to make jap-chae doesn't mean it is hard. It's not, really! I promise. Just throw in all the ingredients and you'll be done in 30-40 minutes.

1. Bring water to boil. Add the noodles and let it boil about 6 minutes. Drain water and squeeze the water out of the noodles. In large bowl, drizzle olive oil over noodles and stir constantly with chopsticks to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Add the noodle marinade and set aside.

2. Marinade the beef; in small bowl, stir the beef in the beef marinade. Set aside and let it marinade about 20 minutes.

3. In large pan or wok, add the sesame oil over high heat. Add the onion, mushroom, fishcake, and carrot and stir about 3-4 minutes. Add the soy sauce, rice wine, and apple cider vinegar. Add the spinach and stir until it is cooked and softened. Add the salt and pepper to taste or add more soy sauce if it needs it.

4. Add the beef and stir frequently until the beef is cooked. Remove from heat.

5. Pour the beaten eggs onto a griddle or a flat pan over medium heat. (You will want to cook the eggs slowly rather than fast. The texture will be better if it is cooked over medium heat.) When the eggs are cooked, remove from heat and slice it into 1/2-inch strips.

6. Mix all the prepared ingredients: Add the vegetable and meat mixture into the noodle mixture. Stir them together with chopsticks. Sprinkle sesame seeds and garnish with the eggs (or mix the eggs with the other ingredients).

Sook the Cook


  1. This looks great, I can't believe this is the first time you've made this in the US. I really like the egg garnish, I'll have to try that next time.

  2. Hi Janice! I know, isn't that crazy? I've only recently discovered that Korean food isn't hard to make at all even in America. :)

  3. OOOOO you know what Sook. At the look of it i started to feel hungry. Parcel me some.........Great clicks too . Yummy Yummyyyyy

  4. I had tried these glass noodle when I was in Korean. These glass noodle is slightly thicker and chewy than our Chinese glass noodle. I prefer to eat cold glass noodle, very delicious.

  5. YUM! I would do this with vegetarian beef that I can get at the Asian market - I think that would work, don't you? Love the egg garnish - love all of it, really.

  6. When we were in Korea, we asked one of the ajumma's at church for a japchae recipe and all she gave us were the ingredients. No proportions.
    So hubby decided he wanted to try making it. The only problem is he added WAY too much sesame oil. : P
    We learned our lesson since then! : )

  7. Tasty Trix-
    I've never had vegetarian beef but sure, it will work! You don't even have to have beef if you prefer it that way. :)

  8. Tamar 1973-

    I know how too much sesame oil can ruin a lot of things :) I'm sorry your first attempt in making japchae wasn't so successful. A lot of Koreans don't really have a set recipe. I don't really either. I tried to measure things this time, though. :) You can always add more or less soy sauce, sesame oil, and vegi's.

  9. that really looks yum to me! I'm a fan of korean cuisine too. hehe... I will attempt to prepare this dish... ;)

  10. Hi Corine!
    Thanks for following my blog! I'm so glad that you like Korean food, too. :)

  11. wonderful recipe! I didn't have all the ingredients but it still tasted good!!

    is it ok to use any kind of rice wine, even japanese? or does it have to be korean rice wine?