Japchae (chapchae 잡채) is a popular Korean dish made from Korean glass noodles (dangmyeon 당면) with stir-fry vegetables and meat. Japchae may sound and look like our Chinese chap chai (mixed vegetables with glass noodles) and that’s it. The texture and taste are totally different. The noodles, dangmyeon is chewy are made from sweet potato starch. I’m so in love with dangmyeon! You hear me? Haha
Like Cazzycazz, I’ve never order this dish at Korean restaurant before because I think it’s not worth it. RM30 wor. I can get the ingredients at less than half that price. Even after cooking this dish twice at home, I still think it’s not worth ordering from restaurant. Stingy is me. Hahaha But I guess I gotta order at least once so that I can compare the taste right?
Before we proceed let me give you a head up. Your first time preparing this dish is not gonna be eventful. There are so much slicing and ‘put aside’ involved. But I assure you it’s so gonna be worth it! After that everything is a breeze. After that means 2nd time and beyond cooking this dish. :)
Come now let’s cook this lovely dish.
Begin by soaking 4 pieces of black fungus in water.
I had a hard time finding ‘em in the kitchen pantry. Definitely not my favourite kind of fungi but I’m okay with it in this dish because I slice it thinly.
Next, slice pork belly into about 0.3cm.
Rub the sliced pork belly with salt and then rinse with water.
Add soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, salt and black pepper. Mix well.
Let it sit in the fridge while you prepare other ingredients.
This is the Korean soy sauce (ganjang) that I used.
Next slice bell peppers, carrots, onions, spring onions and black fungus.
This is dangmyeon, Korean glass noodles.
Bring a pot of water to boil and place the noodles in. Boil for about 7-8 minutes.
The recipe call for 50g which I think is too little. Hence I add another 100g making it 150g. Noodles cooking time become a little longer.
While you are boiling the noodles, start by frying a beaten egg in a pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cut into thin strips once done. Set aside.
Next in the same pan, stir-fry the pork until done. Put aside.
Without washing the pan (since I want the precious sauce from the meat to seep into the veggies), stir-fry bell peppers and season with salt. Put aside.
Continue with stir-frying carrots, black fungus and onions separately. Adding oil and salt necessarily. Set them aside once done.
Here’s the result of the separately cooked meat, omelette, onions (nearly hidden), carrots, black fungus and bell peppers.
Drain the cooked noodles well. I wash the noodles under running water a few times.
Look at the transparency of the noodles. Lovely ya? ;)
Now heat some oil in the same pan. I didn’t wash my pan as it is non-stick. Stir-fry the noodles for few minutes. Since it’s already translucent after boiling, I judge the cooking time by testing bits of the noodles. As long as I can chew and swallow, that’s good. LOL
Then add spring onion, cooked meat, onions and vegetables. Mix well.
Add sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a dish and garnish with omelette strips and toasted sesame seeds. I also add a little spring onions on top.
Remember to saute the vegetables separately to preserve their color as each has a different cooking time – the vividness of color is very important in Korean cuisine.
Isn’t this dish beautiful? It’s so colorful and appetizing!
I was so happy with the outcome of this dish that I happily snap away without realizing I’ve forgotten to garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Hahaha
Here’s one with sesame seeds.
You can serve this dish as main or side dish. For me I love to eat it just like that and with rice too.
Just leave the meat out if you’re going for a full vegetarian dish.
Japchae is a versatile dish. Feel free to be creative and add your favorite veggies and meat.
Btw I’ve just bought Korean sesame oil. I will be making my 3rd japchae soon. I heard Korean sesame oil is very yummy one. :)
Cooked my 3rd japchae using Korean sesame oil. I also added Korean anchovies dashida (soup stock) in the fry noodle stage. The final taste is aromatic and even more delicious! Adding anchovies dashida was taught by a food promoter.
recipe from Flavours magazine (March-April 2009)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt and black pepper to taste
100g pork, beef or chicken, sliced
50g dangmyeon (dried sweet potato noodles) [I used 150g instead]
2 tablespoons oil for frying
1 carrot, cut into julienne (thin strip)
2 small onions, finely sliced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, finely sliced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, finely sliced
4 pieces black fungus, soaked, sliced
1 egg, beaten
2 stalks spring onion, sliced
sesame oil to taste
sugar, salt and pepper to taste
toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling
To marinade meat:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients; mix well.
2. Add the meat and turn to coat well.
3. Set aside to marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
To cook noodles:
1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Place noodles in and boil for about 5-8 minutes, or until noodles are cooked. Drain well.
To fry meat and vegetables:
1. Heat half the oil in a frying pan.
2. Add the marinated meat and stir-fry until cooked. Dish out and set aside.
3. In the remaining oil, stir-fry the carrot, onion, bell peppers and fungus separately, adding a little salt to the ingredient each time, and adding more oil if required. Set aside.
To fry omelette:
1. Heat a little oil in a clean pan and add the beaten egg, seasoned with salt and pepper.
2. Cook until omelette is set, then remove and cut into thin strips.
To fry noodles:
1. Heat a little oil in a clean pan and add the noodles; stir-fry until translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the cooked meat, vegetables and spring onion, and stir to mix well, seasoning to taste with sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Optional: Add Korean anchovies dashida.
3. Dish out and top with omelette strips and toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Hope your enjoy this beautiful dish.