Recipe: Japchae

Japchae is one of my favorite Korean foods and it’s so easy to grab from Korean supermarkets…though I never order it when I’m at a restaurant. Sure, I’ll add it to my Korean BBQ plate but never as an ordered dish. You know? Well during the pandemic (I know we’re still in it, but this is more towards the beginning of the pandemic), I had a real hankering to make it myself. Well let me tell you, it’s no easy feat in terms or prep. Check it out.

Great marinade recipe for the beef, it was delicious!

Not that I go looking for this but it was so nice to find fresh shiitake at the Korean market! I think I prefer fresh over dried.

I have one of those mandolins but I am so lazy to take it out and then have to wash yet another dish. Forget it. You can tell I chopped this by hand, the different sizes shows it was homemade with love (or with me, probably in anger but angry love)

Red bell peppers, a must have! And it gotta be red cause you want all the pretty colors!

Sliced Onions

Man, if I knew I needed spinach…I would have gotten the big bag from Costco. Here’s my puny bunch from the Korean market haha

Just a plan omelet, nothing special here. And not even cooked yet.

For inquiring minds, this is the brand of noodles I bought.

Noodles ready to go at the bottom…look at how pretty the veggies and eggs are layered on top. See why you need the red bell pepper??

Can’t really pretty up brown and brown. I just dumped the meat and mushrooms on top lol.

All mixed together and ready to eat. It’s OH SO GOOD. The marinade in the meat makes this dish all the more delish. I would definitely make and eat it again! Check out the recipe below!

Japchae (Seonkyoung Longest)


For the Beef
½ lb beef, cut into 3″ long thin strips (such as sirloin, chuck, short ribs or tri-tip)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp sesame oil
½ tbsp mirin (Seasoned rice wine, if you don’t have it, leave it out)
1 clove garlic, chopped

For Vegetables & Egg Omlet
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ medium size onion, thinly silced
1 ¼ bell pepper, fine julienne
½ large size carrot, fine julienne
5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (You can substitute to any other mushrooms)
12 oz spinach (1 large bunch), cleaned well
salt and vegetable oil

For the Noodles
14 to 16 oz Korean sweet potato noodle, Dangmyun
For the Sauce
⅓ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup sugar, honey or agave nectar (if you are using agave, add additional 1 tbsp soy sauce)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients for beef in a medium mixing bowl. Let marinate while preparing other ingredients.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tsp oil; swirl to coat. Add beaten eggs swirl skillet to egg covers surface in a thin layer. Cook until it’s just set, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip over and cook for another minute. Slip omelet onto a plate and let it cool.

Heat the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp oil and sliced onion. Season with a pinch of salt, sauté 4 to 5 minutes. Remove onion from pan, keep warm. (Place on a plate or a bowl where you are going to mix whole entire japchae.)

Add 1 tsp oil to the pan and red pepper with a pinch of salt. Sauté 1 minute. Remove chili pepper from pan, keep warm. Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, carrots and a pinch of salt. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Remove carrot from pan, keep warm.

Wipe off excess oil from the pan and add mushrooms. Sauté 2 tp 3 minutes. Remove from pan, keep warm.

Add 1 tsp oil and add marinated beef to the pan; sauté for 2 to 5 minutes or until beef is cooked through and all moisture has evaporated. Remove from pan, keep warm.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add generous amount of salt. Add the spinach, cook about 10 seconds, not much longer. Move spinach from the boiling water to ice water immediately. Squeeze out water from spinach gently. Set aside with other veggies.

In the same water, cook the Korean sweet potato noodles. Boil noodles according to package directions or 6 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile the noodles are cooking, whisk all ingredients for sauce in a bowl, set aside. Slice cooled egg omelet into thin ribbons and set aside. Drain the cooked noodles and place in a large mixing bowl.

Cut the noodles as needed, if you prefer. Pour 2/3 of the sauce into the noodles and gently mix until noodles absolve all of the sauce. Add the noodles into the vegetables and beef, toss gently to combine everything with your hand or/and tongs.

Garnish Japchae with some additional sesame seeds as desired. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

7 responses to “Recipe: Japchae

  1. jalna

    Wow! Looks good!

  2. vickinags

    i used to work with a guy supposedly trained as a Korean chef. He used to say japchae was a difficult dish to make because everything had to be done in a certain order and had a lot of ingredients and all prepared separately. Kill fight right there!
    Yours looks so good! The pictures really help in making it look “do able”

  3. N

    Man. It looks delicious, but hoo da humbug. I notice it doesn’t keep well in the fridge cuz the noodles all dry out. How does fresh shiitake taste cs. Dried. Not as strong taste?

  4. Yours looks so much better than what I see at the counters. SO much better – yum!

  5. vickinags

    If you’re ever in Kalihi there’s a restaurant called Arirang Bar b que right by Yohei sushi.
    The owner is also the cook and almost a 1 person operation especially since COVID so her hours are not that consistent, but 11:30 on is safe.
    Her Japchae is the best, as well as her chigae and yukkejang. Heck, Everything is so good there, dolsot bibimbap, bibimkooksoo, stir fired kimchee, butterfish, etc.

  6. Jenny

    Jalna – thank you! I’m starting to want to make it again!

    Vicki – A little bit of prep but I think well worth the effort! And thank you about the Arirang suggestion! I’m going to eat Korean this weekend but I am definitely going to give them a try another weekend, and Kalihi is my hood! I tried them years ago but haven’t been there recently.

    Kat – it so was!

    N – You know, this japchae kept really well in the fridge. There was a marinade for the meat and sauce for the noodles too…I knew we wouldn’t finish this right away so I was worried about it being in the fridge too but I think it help up fine! And yes, I just love the fresh fleshiness of the fresh shiitake with a very light hint of the shiitake taste versus the strong dried ones!

    Aunty – Thank you so much! Wish I could share some with you!

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