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Korean Stir Fry Glass Noodle (Japchae)

We have been watching Korean dramas to keep us entertained during the #stayhome period, we also got our craving for Korean food set badly. All the barbeque, Korean stew and kimchi have made our stomachs groaning. We are also jealous of the whole fridge of side dishes they have in their fridge and table whenever they have a meal. Meanwhile, Japchae is one of the dishes that kept popping on the screen.

Japchae is sweet potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables and meat. It’s one of Korea’s best-loved dishes and it is served at Korean parties and special occasions. The ingredients for this dish include thinly sliced carrot, onion, spinach, and mushrooms, and sometimes include thinly sliced beef. It’s always seasoned with Korean soy sauce mixed with garlic, sesame oil, and sugar.

With most traditional recipes you would stir fry vegetables, meat, and noodles in a frying pan, but we mix the stir-fried vegetables and meat with cooked noodles on a plate to avoid the noodle getting over cooked. At the same time we thought this method is brilliant because you don’t need to worry about noodles sticking to the frying pan.

Ingredients you need to Prepare

Traditional Japchae requires thin-sliced pieces of beef. At most Korean supermarkets, you can find this style of beef pre-cut in the butcher section. If you can’t find it, grab some sirloin from the store and slice it yourself. Japchae also incorporates a heft serving of veggies. We like to use carrots, onions, spinach and green onions, but feel free to add in some mushrooms if you like. If you don’t already have sesame oil and soy sauce on hand, you will need that to create the delicious sauce that brings the dish together. 

What are Korea Noodles?

Korean sweet potato glass noodles have an excellent texture and offer a hint of sweetness. They are made using only sweet potato starch and water. When cooked, they turn beautiful glass noodles. 

Korean style sweet potato noodles are also referred to as starch noodles or Korean vermicelli. We got ours at the nearby Korean mart, you could get them in most of the supermarkets in Singapore too.

3 Simple Steps To Make Japchae

Step 1: Prepare the vegetables and beef
To mix well with long noodles, ingredients have to be similar shapes. That way when you eat, all the ingredients will cling to the noodles and have more balanced flavours in your mouth. Prepare the vegetables, and set them aside. You can also marinate the beef ahead by mixing the beef together with 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. We used the leftover meat we have from the last barbeque section and thus it is well marinated by the restaurant.

Step 2: Stir fry, blanch, and cook each ingredient separately.
Noodle: Cook the noodles for 7 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Do not throw this boiling water. Strain and cut with kitchen scissors so that they’re a little shorter. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sugar to the noodles. Toss thoroughly.

Spinach: Using the same pot of water from the noodle, add spinach, cook for about 10-15 seconds. Prepare iced water in a large bowl and move the spinach out of the pot to the iced water to stop cooking. Squeeze out water from spinach as much as you can and set aside.

Carrot, Onion and Peppers: Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the onion, peppers and carrot with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until tender, but still a little crunchy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Step 3: Mix all together!
Wait, but remember to mix the sauce and noodles first! The noodles must absorb all the flavours from the sauce first before mixing with veggies and meat. Top it with lots and lots of toasted sesame seed, it does make a difference! And here’s the fun part at the end (traditional Korean way); wear plastic gloves and mix with your hands!

The first time I tried the Korean Stir-Fried Glass Noodles a.k.a Japchae was when we have at a Korean bbq buffet. It was literally one of The Best things we’ve tried, made me go back for refills.

xoxo, Joe

Korean Stir Fry Glass Noodle (Japchae)

Have you tried Japchae (Korean sweet potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables and meat)? This recipe will show you how easy it is to cook up this beloved Korean noodle dish at home! 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. (226 g) sweet potato noodles

  • 4 oz. (115 g) spinach

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 small carrot, cut into thin strips

  • 1 red peppers, thinly sliced

  • 1 stalk scallion, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

  • salt to taste

  • 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame

Method

  • To mix well with long noodles, ingredients have to be similar shapes. That way when you eat, all the ingredients will cling to the noodles and have more balanced flavours in your mouth. Prepare the vegetables, and set them aside.
  • Marinate the beef ahead by mixing the beef together with 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
  • Cook the noodles for 7 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Do not throw this boiling water. Strain and cut with kitchen scissors so that they’re a little shorter. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sugar to the noodles. Toss thoroughly.
  • Using the same pot of water from the noodle, add spinach, cook for about 10-15 seconds. Prepare iced water in a large bowl and move the spinach out of the pot to the iced water to stop cooking. Squeeze out water from spinach as much as you can and set aside.
  • Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the onion, peppers and carrot with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until tender, but still a little crunchy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix the sauce and noodles first, the noodles must absorb all the flavours from the sauce first before mixing with veggies and meat. Top it with lots and lots of toasted sesame seed, it does make a difference! And here’s the fun part at the end (traditional Korean way); wear plastic gloves and mix with your hands!

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