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  • Writer's pictureBaekin Kitchen

Japchae (잡채)

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

I know that you probably came here looking for an elaborate and passionate lead-in, but not this time. Straight to business:

Japchae is great if you want to impress your friends. It's colorful, authentic, and delicious. It's also relatively cheap and great to bring to pot lucks and parties.

Skill wise, Japchae is about a 4/10. It's not difficult, but you need to know how to monitor multiple things happening on your stove at once. It will create an insane amount of dishes which can be fun sometimes, cause it makes you feel like you've gone to battle and created a masterpiece.

One bonus of Japchae is that you don't even have to go to an Asian grocery to get the ingredients. The most difficult thing to find might be the sweet potato glass noodles (dangmyeon), but our local chain carries them in their "World Food" section. I will warn you that buying the noodles at our local store was way more expensive, but the quality was good enough.

The thing that I love about Japchae is that it brings so many flavors together in perfect unity. When you look at the ingredients, it seems like there's a lot going on, but it works. The peppers and carrots add a bit of crunch and sweetness. The spinach is hardly noticeable (that's a good thing in my opinion). The beef adds some depth of flavor and some texture. The whole things works and makes for a light and reasonably healthy meal.

This recipe is a slightly altered version of my wife's aunt's.


3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 1/2 lbs of beef flank steak or sirloin (marinated in bulgogi seasoning)

a large handful of glass noodles (dangmyeon)

5 dried shiitake mushrooms

2 carrots

1 onion

2 red bell peppers

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

Bulgogi Seasoning

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of sugar

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

black pepper


  1. Slice beef into bite sized chunks and marinate in a 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, a tablespoon of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of minced garlic. Add a few dashes of pepper and make sure everything gets coated. Set aside.

  2. Slice the onion and the mushrooms into strips. Julienne the carrots (I usually just use a grater) and cut up the pepper. Put each item in a separate bowl and put aside.

  3. Sauté each of the veggies individually with a little oil and salt until they get soft. I typically do the spinach last.

  4. Boil a pot of water and cook the noodles. Dangmyeon take a while and don't really over cook. I think 8 minutes should be enough time, but try one before you pull them off the burner.

  5. While the noodles cook, start sautéing the chunks of beef. Remove from heat and drain when done.

  6. Mix together the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a bowl.

  7. When the noodles are cool enough to touch, add to them the soy sauce mixture that you just made and mix thoroughly (I use plastic gloves and mix by hand).

  8. Add the vegetables and the beef and mix (again, hands work best) until ingredients are evenly distributed among the noodles.

  9. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and you're ready to rock and roll.

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