Japchae‘s mix of stir-fried beef, chewy noodles and flavorful vegetables is a perennial crowd-pleaser. If you go to a public event in Korea — anything from a birthday party to a wedding — you’re likely to see a huge platter of japchae on the serving table. Seriously…everyone likes japchae.
Japchae is also relatively inexpensive to cook and easy to serve; just scoop it onto a plate. And since japchae noodles are made of sweet potato starch, this dish is gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free soy sauce. (The English name for japchae — Glass Noodles — is a reference to the fact that these noodles become transparent when cooked.)
Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles) — 잡채
Makes 6 servings
- ½ lb. lean beef, cut into thin strips
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 onion, cut lengthwise into strips
- 8 dehydrated mushrooms, softened and sliced*
- 1 bunch spinach, cooked and cut
- 2 oz. sweet potato starch noodles (called dahng myeon in Korean and sometimes called cellophane noodles in English)**
- oil for stir-frying vegetables
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce***
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 green onion, chopped (or 3 scallion stalks)
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- dash of black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce***
- 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
*These are dehydrated mushrooms. You can buy them in Asian grocery stores and rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water. (See photo above.)
**You can buy these noodles in Asian grocery stores. They are sold dry, in a large bag. Look for the words “sweet potato starch” in the ingredients list. (See photo above.)
***I used San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (available at Whole Foods or for $6.69 + shipping on Amazon.com.
- Mix beef strips with meat seasoning ingredients and set aside while preparing vegetables.
- Soak noodles in hot water for 15-20 minutes before cooking in boiling water for one minute. Rinse noodles in cold water and drain.
- Stir-fry all vegetables separately except mushrooms, which should be stir-fried with the beef strips.
- Mix stir-fried beef and vegetables together. Combine remaining seasoning ingredients and add them to the beef and vegetables. Serve warm, on a large plate or platter.
[Recipe from “Korean Cooking”, an out-of-print cookbook created by the Korean Institute of Minnesota.]