Japchae 101

While I already knew how to eat Japchae, yesterday I learned how to make it. It seems like a lot of ingredients and a long process, but it’s pretty simple + goes quickly with help. You can make a huge batch and divvy it up into freezer bags. Just defrost & heat it up in a pan.

We would have added bulgogi, if everyone didn’t think I was a vegetarian, for some reason. Next time. Thanks to my adopted Korean grandma, Sam, + Tom, for being the glue.¬†Recipe after the cut…


  • Korean style starch noodle (sweet potato vermicelle)
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 4-8 carrots
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 white onion
  • shiitake mushrooms or black fungus
  • 4 eggs
  • fishcake
  • soy sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • sesame seed oil
  • sesame seeds
  • white sugar
  • salt + pepper



  1. Soak noodles in hot to warm tap water in a large bowl – make sure they are submerged.
  2. Chop chop chop! Peel carrots + chop into slices on a diagonal & then chop them into little strips. That’s a clear description, isn’t it.
  3. Chop zucchinis, mushrooms, onion, + fishcake in similar fashion. The end goal is to have similarly shaped and sized strips.
  4. Flash boil the spinach, strain, + squeeze out water.
  5. Alright – it’s time to cook! Cook each ingredient separately to maintain its distinct flavor + color. Also, we’ll season some of the veggies differently.
    • Onion: Prime pan with veg. oil. Cook onions until translucent. Transfer to the-largest-of-mixing-bowls.
    • Carrots: Add more veg. oil, if needed. Cook carrots with a dash of salt to draw out water & sweetness. Transfer to mixing bowl.
    • Spinach: Cook with a splash of soy sauce.¬†Transfer to mixing bowl.
    • Mushrooms, Zuchinni, + Fishcake: Cook each seperately, add more veg. oil if needed, + transfer to mixing bowl.
  6. Scramble eggs and pour half into oiled pan. This is kind of an egg crepe, at least in thickness. Flip egg crepe to finish cooking on other side. Remove and repeat for other half.
  7. When egg crepes have cooled, cut them into thin strips (to match the size/shape of the chopped veggies). Put aside till end.
  8. Drain water off noodles. Noodles should be pliable, but not completely cooked. In pan, add a splash of soy sauce + then a handful of noodles + then a sprinkle of sugar. Keep the noodles in constant motion (via chopsticks or other utensil) or they will stick to the pan and burn! It’s a disaster! The goal is to get noodles evenly coated in soy sauce and sugar, as well as fully cooked. You can tell the noodles are cooked when they are just short of being gummy or eat one and see. This was the trickiest part for me – and in the event that the noodles are not cooked through, but began to stick to the pan, add a splash of water and continue cooking until done.
  9. Whew, done with that. Put all those noodles in the mixing bowl & it’s time to get mixin’. Add some sesame oil and sugar, best to err on the side of too little, as you will add more if needed. Mix mix mix! Be sure to integrate veggies with noodles. Taste it, add more sesame oil or sugar. Add sesame seeds + mix in. Add egg strips + mix in gently, with care.
  10. Time to eat! Good job, champ!

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