Jap chae (잡채), meaning ‘mixed vegetables’, is a really popular dish that is often seen in Korean dramas, where Korean actors and actresses either slurp up the noodles with their long metal chopsticks or put a handful of vegetables directly into their mouths after mixing the dish with their plastic-gloved hands.
The most memorable thing about this dish isn’t from my trip to Korea ten years ago (now that I think about it, I don’t think I had any japchae back then!) but from watching ‘Reply 1994‘. The mother of the household would prepare dishes served in really humongous bowls and jap chae was one of those dishes. It was fascinating to watch the characters slurp up the noodles, especially since the noodles looked really, really delicious. I wanted to try slurping it too, hence my decision to make this dish at home.
I have initially thought that the noodles are vermicelli, kind of like those that the Chinese love to fry with cabbages or boil in soup. They are actually sweet potato noodles, not vermicelli, and really thick ones at that. Which wasn’t bad because then, it makes for a complete meal by itself.
I’ve had fun slurping it all up. Now’s your turn to do so.
- Beef Mignon: 250g, sliced thinly
- Garlic: 3 cloves, finely chopped
- Sugar: 1 tbsp + 3 tbsp
- Light soy sauce: 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp
- Sesame oil: 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp
- Ground blackpepper: 1 tsp + 1 tsp
- Sweet potato noodles: 500g
- Oil: 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp
- Spring onion: 1 stalk, finely chopped
- Red onion: 1, finely chopped
- Carrot: 2, julienned
- Salt: 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp
- Spinach: 250g, stem and leaves separated
- Sesame seed: 2 tbsp
- Marinate beef with garlic, sugar, soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil and pepper. Leave in fridge overnight.
- Bring water to a boil. Cook sweet potato noodles for about 5 min till al dente.
- Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in mixing bowl.
- Snip noodles with scissors a couple of times. Mix in 2 tbsp sesame oil and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add beef and spring onions. Fry till just cooked. Add into bowl of noodles.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in wok. Add onion, carrots and 1/2 tsp salt. Fry for 2 min.
- Add in stems of spinach, followed by the leaves 30 seconds later. Stir-fry till spinach is just wilted. Add into bowl of noodle mixture.
- Mix together 3 tbsp sugar, 3 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp blackpepper. Pour sauce into noodle mixture.
- Toss everything by hand to coat evenly.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds & remaining spring onion to serve.
- This recipe was kindly adapted from Chew Out Loud’s ‘Jap Chae (Korean Stir Fry Noodles – GF‘. I was so tired after cutting the carrots that I decided to forgo the mushrooms, which are included in the original recipe.