Jap Chae (잡채) is a Korean sweet potato noodle dish packed with vegetables. Spinach, carrots, onions, green onions, and mushrooms are sautéed, then tossed together with the noodles and a simple soy sauce mixture for a light and delicious dish.
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The star of Jap Chae (also spelled Chap Chae or Jab Chae) is Dangmyeon (당면, dangmyun, tangmyun). These Korean noodles are made from the starch of sweet potatoes. Instead of tasting like sweet potatoes, these transparent and springy noodles actually absorb the flavor of the sauce and other ingredients added. They are also naturally gluten-free and vegan. I have been able to find dangmyeon in the noodle section of the local Asian food market (be sure to check the ingredient list for additives, some also include spice/soup packets). They can also be found on Amazon.
While I am sharing a vegetarian/vegan version, thinly sliced marinated beef is a very popular and traditional addition (check out Kimchimari for a recipe using beef). Other common ingredients include sliced red bell peppers and eggs. Be sure to have all of your vegetables sliced and prepped before heating the pan. They cook quickly.
The original recipe I shared had a few of the vegetables cooking together. I have changed it a bit to cook them each separately. This is the more traditional way and it helps preserve the flavor of each ingredient while also preventing overcooking. If you do decide to cook all the vegetables together, add them to the pan in the order of how long they cook, starting with the onion, then carrot, mushroom, green onion, and garlic. Cook the spinach separately, either in the pan like I did or quickly blanching in boiling water, being sure to squeeze out excess water before tossing with the noodles.
As a note: After updating the photos and typing everything up, I realized I forgot to top the Jap Chae with the toasted sesame seeds. Pretend that there is a sprinkling of sesame seeds over the top.
Evan had no interest in this meal whatsoever- unless you count giving the food to Daddy. He hasn’t warmed up to the idea of longer noodles yet. He only picked at a couple of carrot slices and mushrooms. Oh well, maybe someday.
Looking for more Korean noodle dishes? Try Mul Naeng-Myeon (Buckwheat Noodles in Chilled Broth) and Yachae Kalguksu (Korean Knife Noodle and Vegetable Soup).
Jap Chae (Korean Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Noodles) Recipe
Jap Chae (Korean Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Noodles)
Adapted from Steamy Kitchen
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces Dangmyeon (Korean Sweet Potato Noodles)
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound baby spinach
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Salt to taste
In a medium bowl, add hot water to the dried shiitake mushrooms and allow to soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove the stems and thinly slice the softened mushrooms. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and boil until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse, and toss the noodles with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Cut the noodles with scissors into about 8 inch long pieces.
In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce and sugar.
In a wok or large pan, heat a splash of the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once heated, add the onions with a small pinch of salt and cook just until they soften, but aren’t yet browned. Remove to a plate and add another splash of oil to the pan. Add the carrots and cook until softened with another small pinch of salt, then transfer to a plate. Add more oil and cook the mushrooms with a little salt until heated through, 2-3 minutes, before removing to a plate. Repeat with the green onions, cooking until wilted and transferring to a plate.
Cook the garlic just until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the spinach. Cook until just wilted, then drain. Squeeze out the excess moisture when cool enough to handle and toss with a teaspoon of the sesame oil.
Toss the cooked noodles with all of the vegetables, the soy sauce mixture, and remaining sesame oil. Season as needed to taste and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.