Japchae, also known as Korean sweet potato noodles, Korean vermicelli, or Korean glass noodles, requires several hours to prepare but is well worth the effort. Japchae typically is mixed with a variety of vegetables such as shiitake mushrooms, black mushrooms, green onions, carrots, bell peppers, spinach, and yellow onions. It is marinated with soy sauce, garlic, sesame seed oil, brown sugar, salt, and ground black pepper.
- 6 oz Korean style sweet potato noodles
- 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 10 dried black mushrooms
- ½ lbs beef chuck pot roast
- 5 green onions
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ green bell pepper
- 1 handful of spinach
- ⅓ yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5 large spoonfuls soy sauce
- 2 large spoonfuls sesame seed oil
- 4 large spoonfuls brown sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
Noodle Cooking Instructions
- Fill a large pot with cold water and heat on high until boiling.
- Add 6 oz of sweet potato noodles into the boiling water, immediately turn off the stove, and set the pot of noodles aside, letting the noodles cook and soften in the hot water for approximately 10-15 minutes. Check the noodles periodically to make sure they are the correct softness and consistency by touching them and trying small samples. The noodles should not be undercooked and hard when chewed but should not be overcooked or too soft and mushy when chewed.
- Strain the noodles when they reach the right consistency. Do not rinse the noodles under cold water.
- Place the noodles on a cutting board, cut the noodles using a sharp knife into 3 equal sections using only 2 cuts, and set the noodles aside.
Noodle Sauce Preparation
- Add 2 large spoonfuls of brown sugar, 2 large spoonfuls of soy sauce, and 2 large spoonfuls of sesame seed oil into a small bowl. Mix thoroughly with a spoon and set sauce aside.
- Pour the sauce onto the boiled noodles, mix with bare hands, and set aside. The soy sauce will make the noodles turn a light brown color and the sesame seed oil will prevent the noodles from sticking together.
- Soak shiitake and black mushrooms in separate bowls using lukewarm water for approximately 1 hour each until the mushrooms are soft to the touch. Once the mushrooms are the correct softness, rinse the mushrooms under cold water. Make sure to save the water the mushrooms were soaked in for a later step.
- Cut off the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice the caps into thin strips. Slice the black mushrooms into thin strips as well. Squeeze excess water from the sliced mushrooms and place in a small bowl.
- Add 2 spoonfuls of soy sauce, 1 spoonful of brown sugar, mix thoroughly by hand and set aside.
- Cut ½ lbs of beef chuck pot roast into thin strips, using only the lean parts of the meat, trimming off any fat. Pre-marinated bulgogi can also be used instead of preparing new beef strips. See this bulgogi recipe to learn how to make marinated bulgogi for this dish.
- Marinate beef strips in a small bowl with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 chopped green onion, ½ tsp of black pepper, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Cut 5 small green onions into 1-inch slices diagonally. Cut ½ green bell pepper into 1-inch slices. Peel 1 carrot and cut into thin 2-inch strips. Cut ⅓ yellow onion into thin strips.
- Wash spinach and cut into 2-inch pieces. Add cold water to a small pot and heat on high until boiling. Add salt to boiling water to add more color to the cooked spinach. Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook for approximately 1 minute. Once the spinach is blanched, strain the spinach and rinse quickly under cold water 2-3 times. Squeeze out excess water from the spinach and set aside.
- Sautee carrot strips in frying pan on high heat with olive oil, salt, and some of the mushroom water for approximately 2-3 minutes or until soft and add to noodles.
- Sautee blanched spinach in frying pan on high heat with olive oil and salt for approximately 2 minutes and add to noodles.
- Sautee green bell pepper, yellow onion, and green onion strips in frying pan on high heat with olive oil, salt, and some of the mushroom water for approximately 5 minutes or until soft and add to noodles.
- Sautee beef strips for 2 minutes until done and add to noodles.
- Sautee mushroom slices for 2 minutes until done and add to noodles.
- Mix thoroughly by hand and place on a serving dish.
Egg Garnish Preparation
- Divide the whites and yolk from 2 eggs into 2 separate bowls.
- Add a dash of salt to both the egg whites and yolks. Add a bit of mushroom water to the egg yolks to add more flavor and to make them turn out more fluffy.
- Mix each bowl vigorously using a fork.
- Heat a frying pan on low heat, add enough olive oil to coat the pan, and slowly pour the mixed egg yolks into the frying pan, making a thin layer of egg in the shape of a pancake. Flip after a few minutes to cook both sides. Place the cooked egg on a cutting board. Repeat this step using the egg whites as well.
- Slice both egg layers into thin strips and add to the top of the noodles as a garnish before serving. The eggs are intended to be used mainly as a garnish and should not be mixed into the noodles.