Japchae is one of the better known Korean dishes. Japchae is a stir-fried sweet potato noodle recipe with julienned vegetables, lightly seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. The dish is incredibly quick, taking 10 minutes or so to prepare, and just 10 minutes to cook. It is an ideal dish for vegetarians and vegans alike, and can be made with almost any vegetables in the store cupboard.
And if you have any left over, the noodles can be served as a side dish when cold, or used as a stuffing for Korean mandu dumplings.
For more on the difference between rice noodles, glass noodles and sweet potato noodles, see the article What are glass noodles.
Stall selling Japchae noodles in Kwang Jang night market in Seoul
Ingredients Serves: 2
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into julienne slices
- 1 courgette, cut into julienne slices
- 2 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated for 15 minutes in boiling water and cut into thin strips
- 4 wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated for 15 minutes in boiling water and cut into thin strips
- Handful beansprouts
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 80g sweet potato noodles (1 nest), soaking in tepid water for 1 hour until pliable
- Handful spinach leaves
- Fine sea salt, to season
- Sesame seeds, to garnish
- Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the carrot, season with a little salt and stir fry for 1 minute. Repeat with the courgette, then the shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms and beansprouts.
- Add the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic and stir. Add the noodles and mix well. Move the ingredients into the centre of the pan, and layer over the spinach leaves. This allows the noodles steam. After 1 minute, toss well using the cooking chopsticks and stir for another 1-2 minutes until the noodles are transparent and cooked through.