If you like Asian noodle dishes, you will love Korean sweet potato noodles. With a delicious chew and coated in a tasty sauce, you would never know that japchae noodles are made from sweet potatoes and are naturally gluten-free!
Noodles. How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways. 🙂
Whether it's spaghetti coated in tomato sauce, chow mein cooked up in a wok, or slurped up with soup, noodles dishes are so popular...and with good reason! Look at all the noodles wannabes out in the market now, made from zucchini, butternut squash...people want their noodles!
Japchae is a Korean noodle dish that includes tender beef, carrots, spinach, onions, and egg. There are variations, of course, some being without meat, but the core ingredient is the sweet potato noodles.
If you've never had Korean sweet potato noodles before, these are not made from fresh sweet potatoes that have been put through a spiralizer noodle maker. As with most Asian type noodles, these noodles are sold dried and are made from sweet potato starch and water. They don't look particularly appetizing when you see them in their dried form, but once they have been cooked, they become glistening, translucent, delightfully chewy noodles that quickly absorb any flavorful sauce you toss with them.
You could certainly enjoy a dish of plain sweet potato noodles and sauce, perhaps with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and white pepper. I would be totally into a bowl of that!
Or you could take the extra steps and mix the noodles with the meat and veggies for a super delicious and more complete dish!
As I mentioned above, I make my japchae with onions, carrots, tender beef, spinach, and egg. It's a little bit of everything that comes together to make an amazing something! Other possible vegetables you could use are shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, shredded cabbage, or zucchini. You can also keep it vegetarian by skipping the meat completely.
All the ingredients come together in one pan and before you know it, you have a flavorful Korean meal ready to enjoy.
If you're making this japchae, you also have to check out my No-Cook 5 Minute Korean Chili Sauce (Gochujang). It's a Korean condiment that is a breeze to make and it complements this noodle dish perfectly, giving it a bit of a delicious spicy kick!
If you love noodles and Asian flavors, then you have to give these Korean sweet potato noodles a try. And as I mentioned above, they are naturally gluten-free...yet another reason that makes this a must-try dish!
Korean Sweet Potato Noodles (Japchae)
- 1 lb. (454g) flank or rib-eye steak, sliced thinly, across the grain
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ lb. sweet potato noodles (225g)
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- ½ onion sliced
- 2-3 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 tbs light olive oil
- 4 tbs tamari (soy sauce for non-GF)
- 4 teaspoon mirin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbs tamari (soy sauce for non-GF)
- 2 tbs honey
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- Pinch of black pepper
- Combine beef marinade ingredients in a bowl and add sliced beef. Stir well to combine and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Gently fry the egg over low-medium heat. Flip once. Set aside to cool, then slice into strips.
- In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and add the dry sweet potato noodles. Cook for 5 minutes and drain.
- Combine noodle sauce ingredients and cooked noodles in a bowl and coat well.
- Using kitchen shears, make a few cuts through the sweet potatoes noodles. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat and add 2 tbs light olive oil.
- Saute sliced onions and julienned carrots until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beef and marinade to the onions and carrots.
- When beef is about halfway done, add the spinach leaves and stir to cook.
- Add the sweet potato noodles and sauce and the sliced egg and combine well. Heat through.
- Serve with kimchi or gochujang sauce as a garnish.
- Do not worry if the sweet potatoes dry up a bit before adding them to the pan. They will quickly soften and loosen once heated and mixed with the other ingredients.
- Instead of slices of beef, you can also use ground beef, or shredded chicken.
- Try prawns instead of meat, or sliced firm tofu.
- Make this a vegetarian dish by skipping the meat completely and use other vegetables.
- This dish works great with different vegetables like shiitake mushrooms, beansprouts, bell peppers, etc.
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This post was originally published on January 23, 2017, but was republished in June 2019 with an updated recipe, new photos, instructional photos, and writing.
I, too, am a noodle fanatic, and these look amazing, Lisa! I wonder if I can find them here. I'll be keeping my eye out for them.
Thanks, Colleen! You should totally be able to find them there. Just check the Asian food aisle in the supermarket, or if there happens to be any Asian grocery stores, go take a wander through there.
Thank you for your recipe, Lisa. Is there something I can substitute mirin with? Can Chinese cooking wine be used instead for instance? Or just don't use anything?
Thanks for your comment, Ilyana. Mirin is sweeter than Chinese cooking wine, so if you do use it, I would also add 1/2 tsp of honey to the beef marinade.