North Korea – Japchae ( Stir-fried Glass Noodles )

by Evelyn Brutz

These are Korean stir-fried noodles cooked in many Asian countries as a snack and dinner. Japchae has had all three flavors to work with usually like it has salty, sweet, and sour taste mixed together in one bowl. It has the addition of many vegetables, cooked meat slices, and glass noodles with some spices and tastemakers. Spice is according to the preferences like cayenne is used, paprika is used, sesame seeds are used in a humongous amount, sauces are added like soya sauce, chili sauce, oyster sauce, these spices, and sauces make it more popping among the other dishes made of noodles.

Japchae is only made from noodles which are made from glass noodles. These are also known as ‘‘CELLOPHANE NOODLES’‘. These are known as glass noodles because they look transparent when cooked and make a unique appearance on the plate. When colorful vegetables are added, cooked grilled meat like chicken, beef is served on the top of these transparent noodles looked amazing.

Japchae is said to the Korean Royal Dish which is very popular even today. This dish has special worth in occasions and festivals like weddings, birthdays, Hwangap, Doljanchi, etc.

There are many versions of Japchae which is cooked with different ingredients, with different spices and versions. There is also a traditional way to serve it either hot or cold. Sometimes this dish served as the main dish of the honor but it can be served as a side dish, BANCHAN or BANSANG. Banchan is a dish which is made up of rice.


Cellophane noodles is also known by many other names like :

  1. Fensi
  2. Glass noodles
  3. Transparent noodles
  4. Flour threads, etc.

There are different names of cellophane noodles which has set a new trend in noodles appearance. These noodles are made up of starch like Corn starch, Mug beans starch, Potato starch, Sweet starch, Tapioca starch, Yam starch, and Canna starch.

These noodles are used in many other dishes like they are used instead of rice in many dishes and form BANCHAN DISHES. They are also known by their appearance as Rice vermicelli or Noodles vermicelli. You can add color while making these noodles to look more vibrant when cooked and makes a unique kind of look of the dish. The unique colors of noodles make it more attractive and palatable.

Varieties of cellophane noodles :

  1. Dried Chinese noodles
  2. Napjak-Dangmyeon
  3. Dried Dangmyeon
  4. Mug bean sheets
  5. Flat dangmyeon
  6. Dong bei, etc..

History of Japchae

The word Japchae is derived from two individual words means, Mixed Vegetables. Like Jap mean Mixed and Chae means Vegetables.

According to the 17 century, different vegetables and mushrooms with some chicken and beef pieces are cooked with rice and served to the KING GWANGHAEGUN. Cucumber, carrots, radish, shiitake mushrooms are the vegetables used in making that dish. This dish was on the top list of Korean Royal Court Cuisine.

Now this dish is formed in a new pattern with some different ingredients like Eggs, scallions, potato, Onions, spinach, cheese, tofu, cooked meat like grilled chicken, etc


There are few dishes that is part of the Korean royal court cuisine. Like the following list :


Tangpyeong-chae is a salad that is made up of Mung bean Starch noodles and tossed with crunchy vegetables which are cut into long Jullien cut that can be mixed with noodles. This dish is also known as Mung bean jelly salad. Mian ingredients of Tangpyeong chae salad are the following :

  1. Nokdumuk ( Korean Muk / Jelly )
  2. Fresh Mung beans
  3. Mung beans Starch noodles
  4. Yellow cress
  5. Red pepper
  6. Boiled corn
  7. Ganjang
  8. Gim, etc.


This is Japchae which is only stir-fried vegetables with glass noodles but with the addition of one special ingredient that is WOLGWA. Wolgwa is also known as Oriental pickling melon. Boiled eggs are served on top of this dish.

This can be served as different dish my make savoury rice noodle cake, known as Tteokbokki.

Chapsshal bukkmi is a dish of pan fried rice noodles cake.


Juksoon chae is a dish of glass noodles which is cooked with the ingredients BAMBOO SHOOT .


Jok-chae is a dish which is cooked with the addition of Jokpyeon / trotters jelly.



Gochu japchae is a dish which has huge amount of green bell pepper cut into longitudinal jullien cut. This is cut into the same shape like the noodles thin and long. Bamboo shoots, beef are also added in the same shape of noodles.

Buchu-japchae : made with Garlic and chives

Haemul-japchae : made up with some seafood like fish, prawns, crab and vegetables

Konngamul-japchae : made with soya bean and sprouts.


  1. Calories : 320
  2. Total Carbohydrates : 50 grams
  3. Sugars : 2 grams
  4. Fiber : 3 grams
  5. Total fats : 5 grams
  6. Total protien : 15 grams


  • 300 Grams cellophane noodles
  • 1 small carrot ( julienne cut )
  • 1 cup corns
  • 1 small onion ( chopped )
  • 1 bowl spinach
  • 100 grams Shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small bell pepper (green/red)
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup scallions chopped
  • 1/2 cup Mirin

Beef marination

  • 200 grams rib eye fillets ( julienne cut )
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder


  • Add beef strips into a mixing bowl and add all the marination ingredients into it.
  • Now rest this beef into its seasoning and sauces for 20 minutes and move to next step.
  • Cut the vegetables into equal thickness and size so it looked good on the plate and its also a traditional way to add vegetables according to the noodles size.
  • For spinach blanching, take water in a cooking pot and when it started boiling add spinach leaves into it and cook for 5 minutes and then drain the water and let it to cool down.
  • Now its time to boil the noodles, take water add noodles into it and bring it to boil. When noodles cooked enough for around 10 minutes, take it out and drain all the water.
  • Add sesame oil into the cooking bowl and add chopped onions, carrots, pepper and mushrooms into the oil and stir fry it for a while.
  • We must not cook the vegetables so much that it can ruin the crunchiness of the vegetables.
  • Now add sauces like soya sauce etc into it vegetables, and turn off the flames.
  • On other bowl add marinated beef with little oil if required and stir fry it.
  • Cook beef strips until they tendered and cooked properly.
  • Now we have all our elements ready to give it a toss like beef, vegetables, spinach and noodles.
  • Add noodles in a cooking bowl with sauteed vegetables, beef and blanched spinach.
  • Mix them properly until they assembled.
  • Serve it by adding sesame seeds on the top of the noodles.

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