DELICIOUS Japchae Noodles!

Japchae Noodle recipe

Japchae noodles are wonderful Korean noodles made with deliciously chewy, slippery sweet potato noodles! Did you also know that they are super easy to make and are perfect to serve a crowd too? Best of all the vegetarian version is totally delicious! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

Whenever I go shopping I get sushi or japchae noodles as a snack. I love the texture of sweet potato noodles and the sauce is a mixture of sweet, salty and sesame. Japchae is ridiculously easy to make. I prep a big batch for when I have guests over and they are delicious at room temperature or cold too so they don't have to be served hot which is pretty much perfect for entertaining.

Japchae Noodle recipe

While Japchae is an easy dish to make, its origins are part of royal cuisine. In the 17th century during the Joseon Dynasty by a Korean Japanese nobleman called Yi Chung. He was a member of the former Imperial Family of Korea and created Japchae and served it to King Gwanghae. The name Japchae is a Sino Korean word which means Jap (mixed) and Chae (vegetables). The base is sweet potato starch glass noodles that are sold dried and cook quickly. It is paired with a range of colourful vegetables and sometimes sliced beef. It is sometimes served as a main dish or as a banchan (side dish).

Japchae is a popular dish for celebrations, birthdays or gatherings because it is economical, easy to prepare in large quantities, super tasty and can be served the day after it is made either hot, warm or cold. I love to make the vegetarian version because it is also easy to veganify by serving the egg on the side so it can accommodate everyone (they're also gluten free if you use tamari instead of soy sauce).

Tips for making Japchae:

Japchae Noodle recipe

1 - The base of Japchae are these sweet potato glass noodles. You can find these at most Asian grocery stores. This 340g bag of dried noodles was enough to feed 6 people.

2 - Slice up and prepare all of the ingredients before you start cooking. Once you start cooking it cooks quite quickly.

3 - You can also use fresh shiitake mushrooms but I like the flavour of dried shiitakes better and rehydrating them and then tossing them in the sauce is delicious.

4 - Don't overcook the noodles as you want them to have a lovely chewy texture. However I do recommend cooking them for 1 minute longer if you're eating them the next day just to account for the noodles drying out a tiny bit the next day.

5 - Once the noodles are boiled and drained, add the sauce straight away. The heat will allow the sauce to absorb well and the sauce prevents the noodles from sticking together.

Japchae Noodle recipe

I was so happy with how these turned out and we sat down to dinner to eat these. But my happiness was shortlived. Once I sat down my phone pinged and I started to get a lot of messages from friends. "Have you been hacked?" they asked me. I looked at what they were sending me and it turned out that someone had started a new instagram account called "Notquitenigellaa" and in it their profile it said that "my main page just got hack. Please everyone follow my new page and please everyone don't reply or message my other account this is my new page." My blood turned cold and I put down my Japchae.

Apart from the poor grammar they weren't particularly clever and the messages came thick and fast from friends and readers. Thankfully most people knew that it wasn't me (because my main Instagram wasn't hacked and I was still posting) and only a couple of my readers followed them but it felt like a massive violation of privacy and identity theft. I asked everyone to report the account as a scam. Mr NQN did some investigating about who they were and it looked like they were based in Regina, Canada and were fitness people (why on earth they decided to try and scam a food account was bewildering). After about an hour I calmed down as I realised that most people knew it was a scam and had reported them (thank you Dear Readers!) and then they changed their profile and name.

A couple of days later I got a message from Instagram saying, in their very slack and uncaring fashion that they had a lot of reports to sift through and the best course of action was to block or ignore them which was an indication of how irresponsible Instagram are (what if it hadn't been resolved?). And I checked the account and it looked like they were onto another woman, a mum with kids! Ugh, scammers!

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever been scammed? Has anyone ever tried to take your identity? And on a more pleasant note, do you like Japchae?

Japchae Noodles

Did you make this recipe? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Rated 5 out of 5 by 3 lovely readers. Share your rating:

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 40 minutes soaking time

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6 people

  • 50g/1.7ozs dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3.5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 100g/3.5ozs baby spinach
  • 340g/12ozs. sweet potato noodles
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 white or brown onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
  • 1/2 red capsicum or whole bullhorn pepper, cut into matchstick pieces
  • 3 sticks green onions, trimmed of the root and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

Japchae Noodle recipe

Step 1 - Soak the shiitake mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes. Then drain and discard the stalks and then slice thinly. Soak for an additional 10 minutes in boiling water. Drain.

Step 2 - Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and dark soy sauce together until the brown sugar becomes syrupy. Place 2 tablespoons of this sauce into the drained mushrooms, mix and set aside.

Japchae Noodle recipe

Step 3 - Add some oil to a frying pan and fry the beaten eggs as a thin, flat omelette (I don't bother flipping it over). Place it on a chopping board to cool, then cut it into quarters and then into strips.

Step 4 - In the same pan fry the onion until softened and then place into a very large bowl. Then fry the carrot until softened but not too soft (you want a bit of texture to these), remove and place in the bowl with the onion then fry the capsicum and repeat. Lastly fry the green onions and garlic together for a minute and add the mushrooms and egg slices in the bowl together.

Japchae Noodle recipe

Japchae Noodle recipe
Adding the sauce straight away to the hot, drained noodles

Step 5 - Place a large pot of water onto boil and cook the baby spinach removing them with tongs and draining well (squeeze to remove the water). Add the noodles and boil for 5 minutes (6 minutes if you're eating them the next day) or according to directions. Drain and coat in the sauce immediately. Add to the bowl with the vegetables, mushrooms and egg and toss to combine.

Japchae Noodle recipe

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