When it comes to Korean food, nothing beats a good bowl of japchae. It’s a stir-fry of vegetables, mushrooms and glass noodles made from sweet potato starch, which gives it a nice bite. The signature to japchae, however, has to be its flavor, which is a mix of sweet rice wine with soy sauce and sesame oil, which are classic Korean flavors. I packed my noodles full of vegetables, which makes the dish look healthy and appetizing.

For those who want to add some protein, feel free to add in some minced pork and just flavor it with a bit of soy sauce. The dish is naturally vegetarian and vegan, but to be honest, the shitake mushrooms give the dish a nice meaty bite already, but additional protein can certainly be added and would be delicious as well.

This is a very simple stir-fry recipe once you have all the ingredients prepared, which may be the hard part. The dish comes together very quickly once you start cooking. I think the key is to make sure all the vegetables are cut around the same size so everything cooks evenly. For taste, I found my japchae needed a tad more soy sauce and sugar at the end, so make sure to season to your liking.

This holds for a couple days, so if you end up having too much for dinner, it makes for a really nice lunch as well! It’s sort of like take-out, but not.

Japchae Recipe

(Makes 4 Servings)

  • 8 oz sweet potato noodles (1/2 package)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • 4 shitake mushrooms, rehydrated
  • 3 stalks scallions
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions

  1. Cook sweet potato noodles according to instruction. Once cooked, rinse under cold water and set aside.
  2. Julienne the onion, red bell pepper, carrot, zucchini, shitake mushrooms and scallions into 2-inch matchsticks. Mince the garlic.
  3. In a pot over medium-high heat, add in the vegetable oil. Put in the red bell pepper and onions and sauté for about 2 minutes, until slightly softened.
  4. Turn heat down to medium. Add in the carrot, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, scallions and garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes, until vegetables have softened.
  5. Add in the mirin to deglaze the pan and cook for another minute.
  6. Meanwhile, mix together the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Set aside.
  7. Add the noodles and the soy sauce mixture to the pot. Turn off heat and stir until everything is mixed through. Season to taste.