The Korea Herald


[Holly’s Korean Kitchen] Easy Korean japchae

By Korea Herald

Published : Feb. 12, 2022 - 16:01

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Japchae (Holly Ford) Japchae (Holly Ford)
When I was in my early 20s studying at a college in the US, I was invited to a dinner party at a Korean professor’s home. He was treating all students from Korea and students majoring in Korean at his home.

His wife was an amazing cook – she was more popular among the students than her husband who was teaching Korean at the university. She showed me how she made her japchae, the ever famous Korean glass noodle stir-fry, and I was converted.

Her japchae noodles were very chewy and delicious, and even better, it was so much easier than my mother’s recipe (which I still adore).

Making japchae in the traditional way can be labor-intensive and time consuming. You cook noodles separately, and stir-fry each vegetable and meat ingredient in separate batches, then combine them all together at the end with japchae sauce.

Here is an easier and simpler way of making a classic japchae. You will taste the authentic flavor of traditional Korean japchae, but without all the hard work.

How to make japchae

(6 servings)


• 225 grams Korean glass noodles (dangmyeon)

• 150 grams beef sirloin or pork loin see note below for the vegan/ vegetarian option

• 2 tbsp oil

• 1 medium onion thinly sliced

• 1 medium medium carrot cut into thin matchsticks

• 1 small red bell pepper thinly sliced

• a few pinches salt

• 5-6 shiitake mushrooms sliced

• 1 bunch (about 170 grams) spinach cleaned

• 1 tbsp sesame oil

• 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For beef seasoning

• 1 tbsp soy sauce

• 1 tsp sugar

• 1 tbsp sweet rice wine (mirim)

For japchae sauce

• 4 tbsp soy sauce

• 1/2 cup water

• 2-3 tbsp sugar

• 2 tbsp sweet rice wine (mirim)

• 1 tbsp oil

• 1 tbsp minced garlic

• 1/2 tbsp black pepper


For the glass noodles

1. Soak the glass noodles in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside. Pre-soaking will soften the noodles and make them easier to cook.

For the meat seasoning

1. Slice beef (or pork) into thin matchsticks (about 5-millimeters thick) against grain and season with soy sauce, sugar, and sweet rice wine; set aside.

For the japchae sauce

1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the japchae sauce ingredients, and set aside.

To cook Japchae

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, pepper, and a pinch of salt; stir-fry until soft. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and another pinch of salt. Continue to stir-fry until soft. Add more oil if needed.

2. Add spinach at the end and stir-fry until spinach is wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the vegetables to a large plate to cool.

3. Reheat the pan over high heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the beef (or pork) and stir-fry until fully cooked. You will see the juice coming out from the meat. Transfer the meat to the large plate with the reserved vegetables, reserving the juice in the pan.

4. Add the drained glass noodles to the pan with the meat juices. Pour the japchae sauce over the noodles and toss to combine. Let the noodles cook over medium heat until they are soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed into the noodles, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Reduce the heat to low. Add the vegetables and meat back to the pan over the noodles. Add sesame oil and sesame seeds and toss together to incorporate. Drizzle more sesame oil on if you wish. Taste and season more according to your taste.

By Holly Ford (

Hye-gyoung Ford (aka Holly) is a well-known Korean food blogger and the author of “Korean Cooking Favorites.” Born and raised in Korea, she has lived in many countries. She shares her recipes and food memories in her blog, Beyond Kimchee. - Ed.