Japchae is a classic Korean dish that can be served as a side, main dish, or over rice. Stir-fried glass noodles with sliced beef, julienned carrots, vegetables and mushrooms, tossed in a sweet soy sauce dressing.
Japchae is a well-known and well-loved Korean noodle dish typically served on special occasions and at parties. It can be served as a main dish, side dish, or even over a bowl of rice. (Personally, I could never have Japchae as just a side dish….too little! I need more Japchae!!) It can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. Talk about versatile! The perfect potluck dish!
I was introduced to Japchae at a Korean restaurant just down the street from our office building. I had seen Japchae recipes on various sites before and always thought it looked absolutely delicious but never got around to trying it. When I first saw it on the menu at the Korean restaurant, I knew I had to order it. It tasted just as I had imagined. So delicious! So addicting!
I tried making it at home and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to put together! I’ll walk you through the steps so you can make this for dinner tonight, or at your next potluck!
There are a couple of ingredients we’ll need to marinade so that will be our first step.
Beef: 8oz of beef (1 ribeye, New York or sirloin steak), cut into very thin strips. Tip: Freeze the steak for 30 minutes to partially freeze it so that it’s much easier to slice. After slicing, marinade in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of Sesame Oil and 1 clove garlic (minced).
Mushrooms: 2 1/2 cups of dried shitake mushrooms (about 12 – 15 small mushrooms). Fill a small saucepan with the mushrooms along with 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Heat over medium-high heat just until boiling, cover the saucepan, then turn off the heat. This will allow the mushrooms to marinade and reconstitute at the same time.
Allow the beef and the mushrooms to marinade for 1 hour. After the mushrooms are done marinading, discard the liquid. Cut the stems off the mushrooms then slice the mushrooms into thin strips.
While waiting for the beef and the mushrooms to marinade, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the noodles. The type of noodle you need for Japchae is Sweet Potato Starch Noodles. Boil the noodles for about 7 minutes or until al-dente. When the noodles are cooked, pour them into a colander and immediately rinse the noodles thoroughly with cold tap water. This will stop the noodles from cooking and keep them “crunchy” instead of mushy. When all of the water has drained, pour 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and toss the noodles in the oil.
Now it’s time to put everything together! Before you turn on your stove, prepare your sweet soy sauce mixture: mix 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. Set aside for now but keep it handy.
Heat up two tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat and stir-fry the beef and mushrooms until cooked. Dish out and set aside.
Fry 1 julienned carrot and 1 thinly sliced onion. Just before the onions turn translucent, dish out and set aside.
Add 1 clove of garlic (minced) into the wok along with about 3 cups of spinach. Fry till the spinach has wilted slightly, then turn off the heat.
Add the noodles, then the sweet soy sauce mixture. Mix well.
Add the beef, mushrooms, carrots, onions, and 1 tablespoon of toasted white sesame seeds. Stir to combine.
Transfer to a large serving bowl. Garnish with chopped scallions and sliced fresh red chili.