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Beef Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)

A popular Korean sweet potato noodle dish loaded with beef and veggies!

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Japchae is a hugely popular Korean dish that translates simply as “mixed vegetables.” Originally created as a noodle-less dish in the 17th, over time Japchae has developed into a tasty glass noodle dish. The noodles are made from sweet potato starch, giving the dish a slippery but vibrant texture that works well in concert with meat and colorful vegetables.

The cooking process is broken into three simple, straightforward parts – marinating, egg garnish, and noodles – that maximize the recipe’s traditional aspects while still being quick and stress-free. While there is a temptation to throw all the Beef Japchae ingredients together to simplify the process and make it much quicker to execute, my advice is to take your time (it’s still less than 30 minutes from start to finish!) and ensure you layer the cooking as expressed in the recipe. By doing so you create an ideal contrast of textures and flavors.

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The middle part of Japchae cooking is creating Jidan, the dishes’ delightfully iconic egg garnish. Essentially, egg yolk is quickly spread out on a shallow pan and thinly stir-fried, then cut into strips and added to the final meal. You could scramble an egg as you go when cooking the stir fry, however, making the Jidan adds a nice traditional touch while adding another cool textural aspect.

Well made Japchae should feature a balanced sweet and savory flavor, crunchy vegetables, and noodles that have a bit of bounce (too soft and mushy is not ideal). I love the taste of the chewy noodles in a light but savory sauce that combines with a range of vegetables – bell peppers, spinach, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and onions. Our version uses strips of beef, however you can choose a different protein or go with the vegetables on their own.

Beef Japchae is great fun to make, and is the ideal Asian style side dish to accompany larger plates of protein. It’s also useful if you’re looking for an intimate main meal – throw it together and enjoy Japchae with steamed greens, or a plate of fried rice!

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Serves 4

15m prep time

20m cook time

30m inactive

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Rated by 1 reviewers
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For the Beef and Sauce:
  • 8 oz beef (top sirloin or blade), cut into thin strips
  • 4-5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
For the Egg Garnish (Jidan):
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Spray cooking oil
For the Noodles and Veg:
  • 8 oz dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Combine the beef marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add the beef and mushrooms. Stir thoroughly, then cover and refrigerate for a minimum 30 minutes.
  2. In a pot filled with water, bring to a boil. Boil the Dangmyeon noodles for 5 minutes, then strain. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and set aside to cool down.
  3. While the noodles are cooking, make up the egg garnish by heating a small non-stick pan at low - medium temperature. Spray the center of the pan with cooking oil spray, then pour the egg yolk into the middle, spread it out thinly. Sprinkle with salt, and allow to cook for one minute. Flip the egg, then cook for another minute. Remove egg from the pan, cut the egg yolk into strips, then set aside.
  4. Heat 1/2 a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large non-stick pan set on medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, carrots, bell peppers and spinach, and stir fry the veggies for 1-2 minutes, until softened but still crisp. Transfer veggies into the mixing bowl with the glass noodles.
  5. Return the pan to the heat, adding another 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil. Add the garlic, sliced beef, mushrooms and marinade sauce, then cook for 3-5 minutes, or until beef is fully cooked. Transfer the ingredients to the mixing bowl with the noodles and veg.
  6. Add the egg garnish to the mixing bowl, then stir thoroughly to combine all of the beef japchae elements together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then serve immediately in a large serving dish, or as individual portions.

Recipe adapted from Maangchi