Japchae (Korean Noodle & Veggie Stir Fry)

If you love noodles and stir fried veggies, this Korean noodle dish is perfect for you! It can also be make with beef, chicken or pork, or left vegetarian. It’s beautiful and festive and has all of the “eat your rainbow” colors you could possible want. ❤️💛🧡💚🩷

We were in the Chicago area for a friends’ reunion a few weeks ago, and the mom of one of our friend’s was born and raised in South Korea. She brought a dish to the gathering, and it was called Japchae, which to be honest, I’d never heard of even though I’ve actually been to Seoul and had a few meals there. It could be that the menu listed it under a different name, but whatever the case, her dish was delicious, made from “glass” noodles, which are noodles made from sweet potato starch, tossed in a delicious dressing of soy, sesame oil, sugar, rice vinegar, garlic and sesame seeds, and tossed again with a rainbow of sautéed veggies. 

Soon after we had tasted her Japchae, and helped ourselves to seconds, we realized we’d be making this dish soon because it was so delicious and beautiful. I couldn’t find the exact kind of noodles made with sweet potato starch, so I substituted rice noodles instead, and they made a great substitute. The tricky thing about the rice noodles, is that they can be very sticky, and you really want to cook them until they are actually a bit sticky before tossing them in the dressing. Just work the noodles into the dressing with tongs and you’ll find that the stickiness is no longer such an issue.

If you have a wok, sautéing of all of the veggies would be a bit easier, but we simply sautéed them, one veggie at a time, in a large saute pan and it worked out very well. While her recipe called for carrots, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers, we added some eggplant, which was very good in this dish. Broccoli would also be a great addition to this dish.

The bottom line is that you can use whatever veggies you like, and she even added very thinly sliced beef to her japchae. Pork is often an ingredient, and sometimes you find recipes that call for the addition of scrambled eggs, much like fried rice does. 

The overall taste of fresh veggies with rice noodles, soy-sesame dressing and sesame seeds is overwhelmingly satisfying. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Japchae (Korean Noodle & Veggie Stir Fry)

Japchae is a popular Korean dish made with sweet potato starch noodles stir-fried with various vegetables like carrots, spinach, onions, and mushrooms, along with thinly sliced meat like beef or chicken. It's seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sometimes sugar, resulting in a flavorful, savory and slightly sweet dish.
Servings 4 Servings
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


  • 1 Wok or large saute pan



  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 large yellow onion (cut into thin 2-3 inch strips)
  • 4 whole green onions (cut into 2-3 inch strips)
  • 1 small eggplant (cut into rounds and sweated, then cut into thin, 2-3 inch strips
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeds and stems removed and cut into thin 2-3 inch strips)
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper (seeds and stems removed and cut into thin 2-3 inch strips)
  • 10 medium cremini mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup carrots (cut into 2-3 inch matchstick strips)
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (toast in 250℉ oven for about 5 minutes)
  • 7 oz. glass or rice noodles (sometimes called cellophane noodles)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil (for frying noodles and veggies)
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced beef, pork or chicken


  • 5 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper



  • Mix all well in a container with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to use. 


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the noodles are translucent and tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain any remaining water.
  • Transfer noodles to a large salad bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the prepared dressing. Set aside. The noodles will be on the chewy side. 
  • Heat a little bit of oil in a skillet or wok and add the pasta. Cook the pasta over medium until translucent and sticky. Transfer back to the bowl. 

Veggies (and meat if including meat)

  • Add 1 tbsp. of oil to the pan and cook the carrots over medium-high heat, stirring often, for about one minute, or until the carrots are al dente. Push the carrots to the back of the pan. Add the yellow and green onion and continue to cook over medium heat onions are becoming translucent. You don’t want to overcook the veggies, so err on the underdone side.
    Treks IMG 7914
  • Continue the process with bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and remove each veggie from the pan or wok once cooked to al dente. Cook the spinach last, and only for about one minute to allow it to be tender, but not stringy or mushy. 
    Treks IMG 1488
  • If adding beef or pork, add it to the pan with a little more oil after removing the spinach and cook to desired doneness. Remove from pan and add to the bowl with the noodles.

Assembling the Dish

  • Add all of the cooked veggies to the noodles (and meat) in the bowl and toss with the remaining dressing. Serve with extra toasted sesame seeds scattered on top. This dish can be served cold, warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Reheat the leftovers in the microwave to let the noodles become a bit chewy again. 
    Treks IMG 1496
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: japchae, korean noodle dish, rice noodles, stir fry

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