Japchae (잡채)

11 Feb

Today is kind of a big deal for our family. After nearly two years of work, The Ancestral Table is finally in stores today! To celebrate, I thought it would be fitting to post my cookbook recipe for Japchae, which is a common party dish in Korea today.

Japchae has its origins in the 17th century; fittingly, it was first served at a party for the reigning king. Originally made with just vegetables and mushrooms, sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon, also called glass noodles) were introduced in the 20th century and are now an integral part of the dish.

Japchae (잡채)

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 20 mins plus 1 hr marinade
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

2 tsp wheat-free tamari (coconut aminos okay)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2″ ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 lb rib-eye or sirloin steak, sliced into strips
1 tbsp chicken broth
1 tsp honey
1/2 bunch (4oz) spinach or Chinese cabbage (kai-lan pictured above)
6oz sweet potato noodles, cut into 6″ lengths
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 carrot, julienned
3 shiitake mushrooms, fresh or reconstituted dry (soaked for 30 mins in warm water)
4 green onions, cut into 4″ pieces
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, divided

1. Mix the tamari, sesame oil, rice wine, white pepper, salt, garlic, and ginger, then combine half of the resulting sauce with the beef strips and marinate for 1 hour. Combine the other half of the sauce with the chicken broth and honey and set aside.

2. As the beef marinates, prep the other ingredients. In a stockpot, bring some water to a boil. Parboil the spinach for 30 seconds, then remove with tongs, rinse, and squeeze until mostly dry. In the same water, gently boil the sweet potato noodles for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water; they will start to harden, which is fine. Toss the noodles with a little sesame oil to prevent sticking, then set aside.

3. Warm the coconut oil in a wok on medium-high heat until shimmering, about 1 minute. Add the beef and stir-fry until cooked through, about 3 minutes, then remove the beef and set aside. Add the carrot to the wok and stir-fry until slightly softened, about 1 minute, then add the noodles, spinach, mushrooms, green onions, beef, sauce, and half of the sesame seeds. Stir-fry until the sauce cooks down, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes. Season to taste, then sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds over the Japchae and serve.

Note that the picture above is a doubled recipe. Below is the cookbook picture:

One last quick word of thanks to everyone for your readership, enthusiasm, and encouragement. It’s been a wild ride, and I appreciate you joining me along the way. There is plenty more to come, promise.

60 Responses to “Japchae (잡채)”

  1. Alex Boake Illustration February 11, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Hooray! The day has finally come after all your hard work! Congratulations! : )

  2. kung-food.it February 11, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    looks lush! :)

  3. Mary P February 11, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    My mother in law is Korean and this is one of my favorite dishes she cooks. I can’t wait to try it

  4. Harvest + Honey February 11, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Beautiful! And congrats to you :)

  5. Deborah Swanson February 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    According to Google Translate, ä is spelled “jabchae”, and it means “Chop suey” or “Mixed dish of vegetables and beef” or “Japchae”. So, take your pick!!

    • Russ Crandall February 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

      Deborah, you bring up a good point – the letters “P” and “B” are often switched in Korean (as well as “G” and “K”). One city I visited, Busan, was spelled “Pusan” just as often as not.

  6. birgerbird February 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Thank God . . . I have a couple packages of these noodles and haven’t been inspired re: what to do with them. . . . .

  7. Arthur in the Garden! February 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm #


  8. svc1022 February 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment– I love your cooking and can’t wait to see what the book is like!

  9. thesocialitefashion February 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    so excited to check out your book!

  10. La Torontoise February 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Russ, congratulations!
    I’ve just discovered your blog via WordPress who published your from-blog-to-book interview. It was so touching. So much encouragement and thoughtful advice. I’ve never been into Paleo but I’m aware of it and I’d like to learn more.
    Wish you much success in what you are doing and keep the good work!
    All the best.

  11. I'm Gonna Cook That February 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to check out the book.

  12. dipmaker February 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    This looks amazing! and i want me some!

  13. but i'm hungry February 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    This looks fantastic… I want to slurp up that whole bowl! Congrats on the book!

  14. ksbcaptures February 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Well done! One of my very favorite comfort foods :)

  15. EverydayMaven February 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    Congrats on your book! It is truly one I am excited about getting :). This is one of my favorite dishes – love how authentic your recipe is.

  16. honeyandlimes February 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Having grown up eating japchae, thanks for posting the recipe and educating me on the origins of the dish! It’s one of my fave comfort Korean foods. Congrats on your book!

  17. Colleen February 12, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    Your cookbook looks amazing, and it came out on my birthday! Yay! My husband is half Korean, so trying to revamp certain recipes has not been fun. Just picked up sweet potato noodles last week and have been jonesing for some japchae. Thanks, and keep on keepin’ on!

  18. vickie February 12, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I ordered the book from Amazon . . . can’t wait till it gets here. New adventures in eating!

  19. Calorielicious February 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    This is just incredible! I want to gobble a whole bowl full!

  20. penster47 February 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    This recipe looks amazing! I live in a very small rural area and not sure I can find a couple of these ingredients. For example, the sweet potato noodles, have never seen them, can I sub. rice noodles? and if I use Shiitake’s they will most likely be canned. Hope it turns out ok!

    • Russ Crandall February 13, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      Rice noodles will turn out okay, but I would maybe consider buying the sweet potato noodles online if they price is within your budget.

  21. backpackerlee February 14, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    Wow that meal looks incredible! Must try when I am in Seoul next month! http://backpackerlee.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/korean-foodporn/

  22. Yen-Ning February 15, 2014 at 12:25 am #

    Congratulations on your book! Made this tonight and pour it over rice. I can’t find noodles in nearby grocery stores but your recipe is too tempting! It was very good. Beef is tender. Sauce is amazing. Great flavor with veggies and mushrooms. Can’t wait to get sweet potato noodles and make it again. Thank you!

    • Russ Crandall February 15, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Awesome, thanks! Glad to hear that it went well with rice.

  23. xxxsatokoxxx February 18, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    Reblogged this on satogonxxx13.

  24. Nicole February 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Ok, I guess I’m a little slow here. Can you use sweet potato noodles made with a spiralizer?

    • Russ Crandall February 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

      Hi Nicole, these sweet potato noodles in particular (“Dangmyeon”) are made with water and sweet potato starch, and are similar to dried ramen noodles. You could definitely try this dish with spiralized sweet potatoes, although you’d probably want to blanch them first. Hope that helps!

      • Nicole February 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

        It does, Russ. Thank you so much!

  25. Olivia Yang Hooper March 3, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    I just whipped up this dish tonight with grass fed ground beef instead of flank steak because I don’t have time to marinade the meat. Instead I just poured on the marinade sauce and sautéed it in. It was absolutely delicious!! Going in thermoses for lunch tomorrow. Growing up as an Asian American I am always so happy to see Paleo blogs with their take on Asian cuisine. Still waiting for someone to make a successful dumpling skin!!! I’m off to purchase your cookbook! Thanks so much!

    • Russ Crandall March 4, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      Thanks Olivia! Stay tuned for a dumpling skin recipe, it’s in the works!

  26. Linda March 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    I finally got around to making this tonight! Russ it’s awesome!! Thanks so much!!

  27. Marie March 5, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    I make this for all my babies when they turn 1! They love the loooong noodles (although, I always end up cutting them with scissors). I have recently transitioned to paleo and will definitely have to try yours out!

    Also, come down to Raleigh for a book signing! I’ve told all my friends about you and there’s a pretty big paleo community bc CrossFit is huge down here! I would love to have your signature in my brand new book!

  28. Ann April 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    The rice wine you link to has wheat. Would kirin be a better substitute?

  29. cody cole June 14, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    So if I were to double the recipe should I double the time I cook the noodles and such ?

    • Russ Crandall June 14, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      Cody, if you wanted to double the recipe, I suggest cooking this dish in two batches. If you tried to double the ingredients in a wok, it would overcrowd the wok and steam (vice stir-fry) the food and it would have a wet and mushy texture. So yes, in essence, you’d be doubling your cooking time, since you’d make the dish twice. It’s a fairly quick dish to put together so I think doing it in two batches wouldn’t be that much of a pain. Hope that helps!

      • cody cole June 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

        thank you Russ! I’ll take your advice and make It twice.

  30. this domain October 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi there, its good article concerning media print, we all know media is
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