Monday, August 30, 2010


Japchae's a side dish you'll probably find in a Korean house on a birthday or a holiday alongside a variety of others, but can be made into a simple meal of its own when served over a bed of rice. I've had this noodle dish a countless number of times since I was little but didn't know to make it until just recently when my mom gave me a mini cooking lesson at home. I stood there beside my mom in her tiny kitchen listening, and mindfully taking mental notes of her tips and tricks on how to make these noodles her way. Together we chopped, sliced, sautéed, stirred, and mixed until the noodles were made to perfection.

When the work was all done and the japchae was ready to eat, I strangely felt a little more Korean at heart knowing that now I can make it like my mom can. I have much more to learn if I want to be able to replicate the flavors of foods I grew up on and hopefully this mini cooking lesson with my mom is just one of many to come.

½ pound chuck steak, sliced into 1 inch strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rehydrated dried shitake mushrooms, sliced
½ bunch fresh spinach
12 ounces Korean vermicelli (Korean sweet potato starch noodles)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 medium sized carrots, cut into 3 inch julienne
about ½ cup soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl combine steak, garlic, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Let it sit.
  2. In a boiling pot of salted water, cook spinach for 2 minutes. Remove and put in a bowl of cold water. Squeeze excess water and let it drain.
  3. Cook noodles in boiling water for about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  4. Using kitchen scissors cut cooked noodles into 6 inch pieces (they don't have to be perfect). Then in a pan over medium heat sauté the noodles with a little oil. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add a little of the reserved soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar to the noodles. Mix. The noodles should have a golden hue to them. Taste to make sure there's enough soy sauce and add more if necessary (Remember that you can always add more but can't take away so pour little by little).
  6. In a pan over medium heat sauté onions. Season with a little salt and pepper. Transfer to the same bowl.
  7. Repeat with carrots. Transfer to the bowl.
  8. Cook the steak in the pan. When halfway done, add the shitake.

  9. Transfer the steak, mushrooms to the bowl, along with the spinach (Cut the spinach into smaller pieces if necessary). Make sure everything is combined well.
  10. If the noodles are a bit dry, drizzle more sesame oil and mix.
  11. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top before serving.


  1. OH yum, Love japchae! Its not as hard as people think it is to make. I recently made my first japchae not too long ago. Take advantage of having your mom show you how to cook Korean, you'll thank her later (= Great job!

  2. I've never tried Japchae before, but it looks so good!!!

  3. oh i wish i had a korean mom to teach me how to cook! :) i love japchae and will definitely have to try this recipe sometime!

  4. Angalamangus! I can't believe I only just found this blog. Glen and Brooke were talking about it, and I finally saw it for myself, and it's great!! Hope I can make some of these with you soon



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