I’m super excited today to share this post because of several reasons. It is my first YouTube collaboration (yay!), first time appearing in the video whole time (I did it!), and first time making Japchae, Korean Stir Fried Noodles!
Besides all my “first” experiences, the highlight of making this video was the fun time I spent with my friend Seonkyoung Longest in my kitchen.
Seonkyoung shares her Asian and other easy recipes on her blog and YouTube channel Asian At Home. Some of you might already know her from Restaurant Express on Food Network because she was the winner!
When she came to visit, she brought her super delicious Fresh Kimchi (Geot-Jeori) and I am so addicted to it. I eat it everyday as a side dish with my Japanese meals. It is the only kimchi recipe I will need from now on (no kidding!).
Ready for Korean recipe tutorial? Let’s get started!
Japchae is sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon) stir fried with vegetables and meat. It’s one of Korea’s best-loved dishes and it is served at Korean parties and special occasions.
The ingredients for this dish include thinly sliced carrot, onion, spinach, and mushrooms, and sometimes include thinly sliced beef. It’s always seasoned with Korean soy sauce mixed with garlic, sesame oil, and sugar.
According to Seonkyoung, with most traditional recipes you would stir fry vegetables, meat, and noodles in a frying pan, but her family’s method is to mix the stir fried vegetables and meat with cooked noodles on a plate. I thought this method is brilliant because you don’t need to worry about noodles sticking to the frying pan.
3 Easy Steps To Make Japchae
Step 1: Cut all the ingredients into thinly slice/julienne strips.
To mix well with long noodles, ingredients have to be similar shapes. That way when you eat, all the ingredients will cling to the noodles and have more balanced flavors in your mouth.
Step 2: Stir fry, blanch, and cook each ingredient separately.
As I mentioned earlier, we do not stir fry all the ingredients in the frying pan. And here’s the key. Each ingredient, whether it’s onion, carrot, or shiitake mushrooms, has to be cooked separately. Why? Because each ingredient has different texture and it requires different cooking time. You don’t want the ingredients to be too wilted and lose the texture by cooking them all together.
And you don’t want your onion and mushrooms become orange color due to carrots or red bell pepper, and this will happen when you cook the ingredients together in the same pan. Keep each color nice and bright!
Step 3: Mix all together!
Wait, but remember to mix the sauce and noodles first! The noodles must absorb all the flavors from the sauce first before mixing with veggies and meat. And here’s the fun part at the end (traditional Korean way); wear plastic gloves and mix with your hands! FUN!!
Behind the Scene
Seonkyoung and I had so much fun filming together. To fully disclose, I had been nervous about this collaboration since September when we met and decided on this project. Since then, I’ve been worried about it every day and I even push myself to appear in my own videos sometimes so that I can practice speaking in front of the camera (now you know why).
What made this filming successful and fun was that both Seonkyoung and Jacob (her husband / camera man for Asian At Home) were so easy to work with and constantly encouraged me so that I wasn’t too nervous during filming. I was so relieved when we were done with filming, but at the same time I already missed being in the kitchen filming with her, as well as spending the weekend eating and chatting.
Seonkyoung is such a talented girl who can “own” the show without any preparation. When film rolls, she can just pop in and be natural, comfortable, and confident. I learned so much from working with her, and without her being an excellent lead, I wouldn’t be able to pull this off. Thank you Seonkyoung and Jacob!
Last but not least, I want to thank my friend Janice who hosted a sleepover for our children so that we could focus on filming the videos in a quiet environment.
My Chicken Wing Recipe on Asian At Home!
I hope you will enjoy making this Japchae recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
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- ½ lb. beef, cut into 3″ long thin strips (Such as sirloin or chuck)
- ½ medium onion
- 5 shiitake mushrooms
- ½ large carrot
- ¼ bell pepper or 1 Korean chili pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 11-12 oz. fresh spinach (About a bunch)
- 14oz. Korean sweet potato noodles (Known as glass noodles or cellophane noodles)
- Sesame oil, as needed
- Kosher salt, as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- Sesame seeds, as needed
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce (I use Korean soy sauce)
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- ½ Tbsp. sesame oil
- ½ Tbsp. mirin (Seasoned rice wine, if you don’t have it, leave it out)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- In a medium bowl, combine the seasonings for beef and whisk all together. Add the beef and toss to coat evenly. Set aside to marinade for at least 10 minutes.
- Thinly slice the onion and shiitake mushrooms.
- Cut the carrot and bell pepper into thin julienne strips.
- Heat 1 tsp. sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add beaten eggs to the pan and swirl the pan to cover the surface of the pan in a thin layer. Cook until it’s just set, about 2 minute. Then flip over and cook for another 2 minute. Transfer the omelette to a plate to let cool.
- In the same pan (without washing), heat 1 tsp. sesame oil over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté till tender. Remove the onion from the pan to a large plate.
- In the same frying pan, repeat this process for shiitake mushrooms, carrot, and bell pepper.
- In the same pan, add marinated beef and sauté until cooked through and all moisture has evaporated. Remove from pan to the large plate.
- When the omelette is cooled, roll up and cut into thin ribbons and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. salt. Add spinach, cook about 10-15 seconds (American spinach is more tender than Japanese spinach). Prepare iced water in a large bowl and move the spinach out of the pot to the iced water to stop cooking. Do not throw this boiling water. Squeeze out water from spinach as much as you can and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the seasonings for spinach and whisk well. Add the spinach and coat well with seasonings. Set aside. (Skipped for video tutorial)
- In the same water that you blanched the spinach, add Korean sweet potato noodles. Boil noodles according to package directions or 6 to 10 minutes. Drain well and pour some sesame oil to coat noodles so they won’t stick. Place the noodles on the large plate/bowl and cut with kitchen shears as needed.
- In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for sauce and whisk well. Pour the sauce over the noodles.
- Combine the sauce and noodles first so that noodles can absorb the sauce. Then toss stir-fried vegetables and beef with noodles together. Add half of reserved omelette and sesame seeds and toss together.
- Transfer to a serving platter and garnish Japchae with the rest of omelette and more sesame seeds as desired. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!