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Japchae (Korean Stir-Fry Noodles)

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Japchae is one of Korea’s best-loved dishes, made from stir-fried sweet potato starch noodles with various colorful vegetables and meat.

japchae korean stir fry noodles

I had been making a lot of sweet stuff lately, so I thought that it would be nice to eat something healthy and nutritious for some change. Then, I saw these beautiful-looking noodles japchae from my weekly Korean TV show. This authentic stir-fry uses sweet potato noodles that are naturally low in calories and various vegetables for a meal that is healthy, easy, and delicious.

What Is Japchae?

Japchae (잡채) literally means “mixed vegetables.” However, the main ingredient of this classic dish is dangmyeon (당면). Dangmyeon is pale grey, semi-transparent, chewy, and elastic noodles made from sweet potato starch. It is also known as glass noodles, cellophane noodles, or sweet potato vermicelli. The noodles are mixed with assorted vegetables, meat, mushrooms, and seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil.

The assortment of vegetables in japchae may vary, with typical ingredients including carrots, spinach, onions, egg, and scallions. Commonly used mushrooms are wood ear, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms. Both beef and pork are commonly used for japchae. Each ingredient is stir-fried separately before being mixed with the boiled noodles. 

japchae korean stir fry noodles

Japchae is once a royal dish. However, it is now one of the most popular traditional celebration dishes, often served on special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays. It is commonly served as a banchan (side dish), though it may also be eaten as a main dish. It is sometimes served on a bed of rice, also known as japchae-bap (잡채밥). The dish can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold from the refrigerator, and can be eaten freshly made or the day after.

Why Do You Cook the Ingredients Separately?

Some might argue that cooking the ingredients separately is unnecessary. However, that’s the essence of making japchae. Why? Because you can enhance their individual flavor, texture, and color better by cooking them separately.

Each ingredient has a different texture and cooking time. You don’t want the ingredients to be overcooked or undercooked and lose the flavor and texture by cooking them all together. You also don’t want your vegetables to get stained from the other vegetables. For example, your onion may become orange or red due to carrot or red bell pepper.

How to Make It Vegan?

For traditional japchae, thin strips of beef or pork are added along with various vegetables. To make vegan japchae, simply substitute the meat with more mushrooms or tofu. Marinate with the beef seasonings to make them more flavorful.

How to Store the Leftovers

Leftover japchae should be kept refrigerated. It will keep well for 3 to 4 days and reheat nicely in the microwave. The noodles will get soft and chewy again when reheated.

japchae korean stir fry noodles

More Korean Recipes

Are you a Korean food lover? While you are here, check out also other Korean recipes from my blog.

japchae korean stir fry noodles
5 from 1 vote


Japchae is one of Korea's best-loved dishes, made from stir-fried sweet potato starch noodles with various colorful vegetables and meat.
Author: Jaja Bakes
Course: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Tap or hover to scale!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour


Marinated Noodles

Marinated Beef

  • 3.5 oz (100 gr) thinly sliced beef
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Vegetables Stir Fry

  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 bell pepper, I use 1/4 red and 1/4 green
  • 3-4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch spinach, stems removed
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, for frying


  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil


Marinate The Beef and Noodles

  • In a medium bowl, marinated the beef with the seasonings for at least 20 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the noodle sauce ingredients together.
  • In a large saucepan, boil the noodles for 5-6 minutes. Then, drain and rinse with cold water.
    boiling sweet potato starch noodles
  • Cut the noodles with a pair of scissors a couple of times (between 15-20 cm). Stir in the sauce until well combined. Set aside.
    cutting boiled sweet potato starch noodles

Egg Garnish

  • Separate the egg yolk and white into two different bowls.
  • Whisk the egg yolk with a fork. Heat a non-stick pan with low heat. Add a little bit of oil and wipe the excess with a paper towel. Pour the egg yolk and cook until the edges start changing color. Then, flip it. Once it is cooked, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
    how to make egg garnish for japchae
  • Now cook the egg white just like the egg yolk. Make sure to keep the eye on it to make sure it does not come out brownish. Once it is cooked, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Once they are cooled enough to handle, cut them into thin strips.

Stir Fry Vegetables, Beef, and Noodles

  • In a big saucepan, heat water until boiling. Blanch the spinach for a few seconds. Then, transfer it to an ice bath. Drain and squeeze out the water. Mix the blanched spinach with 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp salt.
    blanching spinach
  • Start stir-frying the vegetables from light to dark color.
  • Heat a large non-stick pan in medium-high heat. Add a little bit of oil, then cook the onion until translucent and fragrant. Transfer the cooked onion into a large mixing bowl.
    cooking onion
  • With the same pan, add more oil if necessary. Cook the carrot with a pinch of salt until it softens. Transfer the cooked carrot into the large big mixing bowl.
    cooking carrot
  • Add more oil if necessary. Cook the bell peppers with a pinch of salt until it softens. Transfer the cooked bell peppers into the large big mixing bowl.
    cooking bell pepper
  • Add more oil if necessary. Cook the mushrooms with 1/2 tbsp soy sauce until they are cooked. Transfer the cooked mushrooms into the large big mixing bowl.
    cooking mushroom
  • Add more oil if necessary. Cook the marinated beef until cooked. Transfer the beef into the large big mixing bowl.
    cooking marinated beef
  • Add more oil if necessary. Pour the noodles into the pan. Make sure not to leave out the sauce on the bottom. Stir fry the marinated noodles for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce fully coated the noodles. Transfer the noodles into the large mixing bowl.
    stir frying korean sweet potato starch noodles
  • Add sesame seeds and sesame oil into the large mixing bowl. Mix all the vegetables, beef, and noodles until they are well combined.
    mixing all the ingredients of japchae
  • Pour japchae on the serving plates and garnish with thinly sliced egg white, egg yolk, and more toasted sesame seeds.


If using dried shiitake mushrooms, make sure to soak them for 2-3 hours or overnight before using them.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 1827mg | Potassium: 763mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 11045IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 4mg
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