Japchae: Korean sweet potato noodles with Gai lan (Chinese Broccoli) and Vegetables

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I once tasted Japchae in a restaurant at Nagasaki, during my stay in Japan. I fell in love with it immediately. I have not had Japchae for many years now. After I started blogging, I wanted to make Japchae, and savor the tasty dish again. The main ingredient in Japchae is the sweet potato noodle, for which I searched for in many stores. Finally I got it from Hong Kong Market. It turned out to be cream colored noodles (sweet potato noodles) and not like the Korean vermicelli (sweet potato starch noodles) which I saw in some of the photos of Japchae.  At the Hong Kong Market, you will get lot of noodles, but on the cover, only a few have descriptions written in English. So finding what you want is really difficult, since I was not familiar.  I have also seen pumpkin noodles there. 
In spite of this difficulty, I love to shop there, because I like to shop not knowing what is in it? It started from my stay in Japan. While in Japan I bought a product and used it as body soap for a few months, until one of my Japanese friends told me what it was. 
I decide to make a Vegetarian version of Japchae.  In addition to the noodles, I added carrot, green onion, green bell pepper, mushroom and Gai- lan (Chinese broccoli).  Japchae is usually not served as main dish but as a side dish. According to Wikipedia it originated in 17thcentury. First it was made only with vegetables; the addition of noodles came about at a later date. 
There is lot of versions of Japchae; with   adding sea food, meat etc.  Cooking styles can also vary a lot. You need to cook noodle separately, then stir fry each vegetables separately, sauce is made with soya sauce, salt and sugar.  Then gradually mix in noodles with vegetables.  Finally it is served with toasted sesame seeds. 
I read in an article that Korean People eat noodles for their longevity, “So it is served at birthdays, family gatherings, or any big party.”
 I used Gai-lan instead of spinach in the traditional Japchae.  In order to save time, I cooked vegetables together.  Twisted the sauce too, adding a little bit sweet chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce along with soy sauce used sesame seed oil to fry.  
I am in hunt for sweet potato starch noodles/ Korean glass noodles, when I find them I will make this recipe again with them.  If you are a noodle dish fan, try this one. You are going to make this one more often. 
Here goes the recipe. 
Gather your ingredients
 In a  saucepan heat 4 cups of water, when water starts boiling add sweet potato noodle and cook for about 4 minutes.  Then  wash with running water and set aside.
While noodle is cooking chop  vegetables you need

Heat oil in  skillet and add ginger, garlic, then onion, carrot and bell pepper, green onion and mushroom. cook everything until the carrot is done.  Then wilt gai-lan , add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sweet chili sauce ,Worcestershire sauce, salt and brown sugar. Then add cooked noodles and mixed everything so that 
sauce get coated well. Then finally add toasted sesame seeds.
Serve warm.
                                                                  Print recipe
Japchae: Korean Sweet Potato Noodles With Gai-lan
by Swathi  @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen



  • 7.5 oz sweet potato noodles
  • 1 cup carrot
  • 3/4  cup  chopped green bell peppper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1  tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2  cup  chopped mushroom
  • ½ cup   chopped green onion/scallion
  • 4 sprig of Gai-lan ( Chinese  broccoli)
  • 2 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • ½  teaspoon  black pepper
  •  1/2  salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds.


  • In a saucepan boil  4 cups of water. When water starts boiling add sweet potato noodle and cook for about 4 minutes.  Wash the cooked noodle with running water in a colander and add 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil and mix well . This step will prevent noodles from sticking  together.

  • In a skillet  heat 1 tablespoon oil and  ginger and garlic and fry for about 1 minute.

  • To this add onion, carrot , bell pepper and mushroom and cook for about 4 minutes or until carrot cook well . ( I cooked carrot well, if you don’t want fully cooked carrot you can cook for about 2-3 minutes).  Set aside.
  • Heat  one tablespoon of oil in the pan and add gai-lan and cook until it wilts .
  • Then add soy sauce, sweet chili sauce,  worcestershire sauce, rice wine vinegar, black pepper powder, brown sugar, salt  and mix everything.
  • Then add noodles and mix well to combine very well. Add rest of sesame seed oil and mix very well.

  • Finally add toasted sesame seeds .

  • Serve warm.


  • You can use  spinach instead of Gai-lan.

I am linking this delicious   Noodle to Favorite recipes : Pasta event hosted here


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  1. says

    That looks delicious but now I also rally want to know what that product really was that you used for body soap! Come on…. Share the secret! 😉

  2. says

    I love to make different noodle dishes throughout the week. Tonight you gave me a wonderful recipe idea. I left your blog hungry after all I saw:)

  3. says

    Wow, what a great idea. I’d never be able to find sweet potato noodles here in the UK but I do have a spiralizer which is an amazing gadget as you can make noodles from courgettes (zucchinis) squash, carrots and loads of other veg. I forgot all about it after I stopped my raw food diet, but you’ve reminded me about it now. I was just thinking yesterday how I wished there were some other noodles available apart from wheat. This recipe looks gorgeous too. I’ll have to save this recipe!


  4. says

    Wow, Swathi! I just love this dish, so versatile, and delicious; just will have to substitute for rice noodles, since there’s no way we can get sweet potato noodles even in our Asian market.
    Love the colorful and healthy dish…your step-by-step fab photos, as well:D
    Will pin this on my ‘pasta love’ board, on Pinterest!

  5. says

    Delicious looking dish (particularly as I am getting to know Korean food better here in Bangkok where there is a big Korean community and thus lots of restaurants)! Also it’s my first time to visit your blog…all kinds of great and interesting recipes from many parts of the world…I love it! Please visit mine as well if you have a chance.

  6. says

    I love Koran food ,have a close friend who is Korean and loved their sushi rolls ( not the Japanese one with raw fish..yuck) and she has gave me a seaweed sheet to try that out :) I will learn this name and ask her about it ,onu shine cheyyalo..

  7. ziya says

    Hi dear,I like the way u post your recipes. Keep up the good work. Only if I am not wrong-it should be—gluten free and vegan too,not vegan-free. But plz,do correct me if I am wrong.
    thanks for the recipe.