Beef & Vegetables with Sesame Glass Noodles (Japchae)

April  3, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by Tara Fisher
  • Serves 2 to 3
Author Notes

"Easily one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea, it's easy to make, healthy, and packed full of flavor from the soy sauce and sesame-soaked noodles. Traditionally, this is eaten on holidays and special occasions, but you will find it in practically every Korean restaurant these days. The Korean glass noodles used here are made from sweet potato starch, and have a delicious chewiness to them. While they are undoubtedly the best choice, you could also use any glass noodle available in your local supermarket." From Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2015). —The Curious Pear

What You'll Need
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, plus extra to season
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil, plus extra to season
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 pinch (large) black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150 grams beef, very thinly sliced
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • 1 egg, beaten and seasoned with a pinch of sea salt
  • 200 grams spinach
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 240 grams carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
  • 240 grams sweet potato glass noodles or glass noodles
  • 1 teaspoon black or toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 red chile, thinly sliced, to garnish (optional)
  1. In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, honey, pepper, and garlic. In a separate bowl, place 2 tablespoons of the mixture with the sliced beef. Combine and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Set aside the remaining mixed sauce.
  2. In the meantime, add a drizzle of sunflower oil to a frying pan and place over a medium heat. Add the beaten egg and fry gently for a couple of minutes on each side, until set, taking care not to color it too much. Remove from the pan and cool, then slice into 3 equal lengths, lay each piece on top of the other and cut them into julienne strips. Set aside.
  3. Rinse the spinach, then put it straight into a large empty pan on a high heat. Turn the spinach as it wilts down—this will only take a couple of minutes. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and gently press the remaining water out of it, then place it on a plate while still warm and season with 1/2 teaspoon each of sesame seed oil and soy sauce. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add in 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and stir-fry the mushrooms, carrots, and onion high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly softened but not colored. Remove from the heat and season with 1 teaspoon each of soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Finally add in the beef and fry over a high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until cooked.
  5. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the noodles and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until tender. Drain the noodles fully and then return them to the pan with the remaining mixed sauce from earlier. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until the noodles have soaked up all the sauce. Turn off the heat and add all of the cooked vegetables and the beef, and half of the sliced egg. Gently combine everything together, then place into bowls with the remaining sliced egg on top. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds and, if using, chile. Serve immediately.

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  • Dave Moss
    Dave Moss
  • hookmountaingrowers
Best friends Issy and Meg have spent the last decade sitting across tables from each other, travelling the world knife and fork in hand. Photographing bowls of steaming noodles, exotic street food and some of the world's most exciting cooks, Issy makes up the photography side of the duo, while Meg records each bite in words. Considering their equal obsession for food and each other, it was inevitable that the two would eventually combine to become The Curious Pear, intent on bringing you reviews, food features and interviews with the culinary crowd, as well as pieces on their favourite eating spots from around the world. The Curious Pear are the contributing Food Editors at SUITCASE Magazine, bringing you a weekly food column at, as well as contributing for Time Out, Food52, Life & Thyme, Trends on Trends, Guest of a Guest and more!

2 Reviews

hookmountaingrowers April 26, 2016
Used red bell peppers, topped with cilantro and put over udon noodles My 4 year old loved it as well. A definite repeater.
Dave M. April 10, 2016
Tasty recipe. I doubled the sauce and used one pound of steak. Added sliced red pepper, asparagus and bean sprouts.