Japchae‘s mix of stir-fried beef, chewy noodles and flavorful vegetables is a perennial crowd-pleaser. If you go to a public event in Korea — anything from a birthday party to a wedding — you’re likely to see a huge platter of japchae on the serving table. Seriously…everyone likes japchae.

Japchae is also relatively inexpensive to cook and easy to serve; just scoop it onto a plate. And since japchae noodles are made of sweet potato starch, this dish is gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free soy sauce. (The English name for japchae — Glass Noodles — is a reference to the fact that these noodles become transparent when cooked.)

Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles) — 잡채

Makes 6 servings


  • ½ lb. lean beef, cut into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 onion, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 8 dehydrated mushrooms, softened and sliced*
  • 1 bunch spinach, cooked and cut
  • 2 oz. sweet potato starch noodles (called dahng myeon in Korean and sometimes called cellophane noodles in English)**
  • oil for stir-frying vegetables

Meat seasoning:

  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce***
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 green onion, chopped (or 3 scallion stalks)
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • dash of black pepper


  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce***
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

*These are dehydrated mushrooms. You can buy them in Asian grocery stores and rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water. (See photo above.)

**You can buy these noodles in Asian grocery stores. They are sold dry, in a large bag. Look for the words “sweet potato starch” in the ingredients list. (See photo above.)

***I used San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (available at Whole Foods or for $6.69 + shipping on Amazon.com.


  • Mix beef strips with meat seasoning ingredients and set aside while preparing vegetables.
  • Soak noodles in hot water for 15-20 minutes before cooking in boiling water for one minute. Rinse noodles in cold water and drain.
  • Stir-fry all vegetables separately except mushrooms, which should be stir-fried with the beef strips.
  • Mix stir-fried beef and vegetables together. Combine remaining seasoning ingredients and add them to the beef and vegetables. Serve warm, on a large plate or platter.

[Recipe from “Korean Cooking”, an out-of-print cookbook created by the Korean Institute of Minnesota.]