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Japchae (Korean stir-fried noodles) 잡채 Recipe - Vegetarian Version

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Labels: , , , |

Japchae or 잡채 in Korean is a dish that I always end up ordering each time I go to a Korean restaurant.  I love the texture of the dangmyeon (a variant of Chinese glass noodles that is usually made from sweet potato flour) combined with the myriad of vegetables usually found in the dish.  The colour of the dangmyeon is brownish and greyish before cooking and will turn a more translucent colour once cooked.  This popular noodle and vegetable dish is usually stir-fried with sesame oil and flavoured simply with soy and sugar where usually some meat like beef will be added but today I decided to go the vegetarian route.  Even though I have tasted japchae many times at restaurants, I had no idea on how it was supposed to be 'properly' cooked so I was ecstatic when I came across Alice of Savory Sweet Life's yummy vegetarian japchae recipe.  I only made some slight changes to her recipe, adjusting some of the ingredients to my own preferences and of course availability.


Apart from being utterly delicious, I love how the colourful dish appeals to the eye as well.  Although this is a simple dish, it was a little time-consuming as the ingredients had to be separately stir-fried before being tossed together and stir-fried a final time before serving.  However, I think it was well worth my efforts as the final result was not only tasty but very pretty too!


The ingredients..

Recipe adapted from Savory Sweet Life.


1 bundle of potato starch cellophane noodles called dangmyeon
1 bunch of fresh spinach
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
8-10 fresh oyster mushrooms
½ block of firm tofu, cut into small rectangle pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cooking oil (amounts will vary, please see directions)
soy sauce (amounts will vary, please see directions)
sesame oil (amounts will vary, please see directions)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons + 1 tsp sugar
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds



Boil one bundle of the noodles - this should take about 5 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from pot and drain.  Do not rinse.  Place the noodles in a large mixing bowl and cut thrice with kitchen shears.

Add 2 tbsps each of sesame oil and light soy sauce to the noodles and toss well to mix evenly.  I think this job will be easier if you use your hands. 

Next, boil the spinach for about 1-2 minutes.  Remove from pot and drain.  Let cool and with your hands, squeeze the spinach to remove as much water as possible.  There should be quite a lot of water absorbed.  Cut the spinach in thirds as well and massage the spinach while adding 1 tsp of sesame oil and a pinch of both salt and white pepper.  Add spinach to the noodle bowl.

Next, heat a wok or pan on high.  Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil and once hot, turn heat to medium and saute the sliced onions until fragrant.  Season with 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and pinch of white pepper and salt.  Add to large mixing bowl.  Repeat the same process with the carrots and the mushrooms (carrots need only be fried for 30 seconds).  Now, fry the tofu pieces for about 1 minute on each side.  Set aside but not into the large mixing bowl with the noodles as the tofu pieces may easily crumble.

Add 2 tbsps of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, the sugar and a pinch of pepper to the noodle bowl and toss well coating ingredients as evenly as possible.

Finally, saute the minced garlic in 1 tbsp of cooking oil until fragrant.  Add in the mixed bowl of noodles and vegetables to the wok and stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Add in the tofu slices and gently toss again.  Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and serve either hot or cold.

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Lyndsey said...

I love these Korean stir fried noodles. Our Asian store sell this on Saturdays, also Korean sushi and veggie spring rolls. My daughter is a big fan too. I'll have to try to make it myself!

Vegolicious said...

I love stir fry and this looks fantastic and full of colour.

I’d love for you to submit one of your beautiful photos, and a link to your post, to my new vegetarian food photo gallery showcasing beautiful and flavorful vegetarian food.

Mary said...

I've never tried a dish like this before but I've bookmarked this recipe! It sounds delicious and is so colorful, love that!

Great blog!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

pigpigscorner said...

I always order this at Korean restaurants! So yummy!

tigerfish said...

I can never have enough of this in Korean restaurants. But I can have enough of it when I cook this at home. Lovely. :)

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Lyndsey - then I hope you'll like this vegetarian version! :)

Vegolicious - Thanks for stopping by, I've just submitted one :)

mary - thanks! hope you'll like this traditional Korean dish

PPC - yeah hehe me too

TF - yeah ur right!

TasteHongKong said...

I also love making japchae at home, sometimes vegetarian, sometimes meat version : ).

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