Korean Stir-Fried Korean Noodles Recipe (Jap Chae, Chap Chae)

Chapchae
Barry Wong/The Image Bank/Getty Images
  • 70 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (16)

Chap chae (chapchae or japchae) is one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea, and also seems to be the one that Westerners like best. The foundation of the dish, which is known as Korean glass noodles, is the mixture of the noodles (which can be made from mung bean or sweet potatoes), soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil.

The "glass noodles" reference stems from the fact that the noodles in chap chae become translucent when cooked ... looking almost like little spirals of glass in the bowl. This dish works well as an appetizer or as the main dish at lunch or dinner. In addition, it can be served hot or cold, depending on the season and on your own personal preference. Plus, it's easy to make as a vegetarian dish.

Because mung bean or sweet potato noodles both absorb tons of flavor, you can mix and match the vegetables or meat to your liking. I used broccoli, red peppers, shiitake mushrooms, bulgogi, and onion in the version pictured here, and that flavor and color combination is one of my favorites. But I have included the more traditional ingredients below. Still, feel free to mix and match the various possible ingredients to make a chap chae that's uniquely your own—that's one of the beauties of this dish.

What You'll Need

  • 8 oz mung bean or sweet potato noodles (might be called cellophane or glass noodles or Chinese vermicelli)
  • 1
  • sweet onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound
  • baby spinach, parboiled
  • 2
  • carrots, julienned
  • 3
  • scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped Napa cabbage
  • 5
  • shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated if dried and then sliced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • 6 oz. beef or pork (optional)*

How to Make It

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. In a large pan or wok over medium heat, heat vegetable (or olive) oil and 1 Tbsp sesame oil.
  3. Add onion slices and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
  4. Add rest of vegetables and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables are half-cooked and still a bit crispy.
  5. Turn heat to low and add cooked noodles, meat (if using), soy sauce, sugar, and the remaining sesame oil.
  1. Mix to combine and cook for another 2 minutes.
  2. Add salt or more soy sauce if needed.
  3. If using sesame seeds, add them at finish.


* Thinly sliced brisket works well in this dish and Korean barbecued beef (bulgogi) is used often. In a pinch, chunks of rotisserie chicken, strips of egg, or fried tofu pieces are good protein additions.