This vegan japchae recipe is my mom’s original Japchae recipe (Korean glass noodles) made into a vegan-friendly version. Sweet and savory noodles meet different vegetables to create a perfect dish that’s beyond delicious!
How do you cope with stress? For me, eating is, no doubt, my coping mechanism. I really didn’t think Coronavirus, Stay-at-Home order, and quarantine bothered me. But based on how much I crave Korean food these days tells me I must be stressed out. Not being about to hang out with friends, roam around grocery stores, go to the yoga studio, and so many little and big changes have definitely made a negative impact on my life without my realizing it. In a situation like this, I think having food that brings you comfort and a smile is a key.
I have been craving my mom’s Japchae for a while now and finally decided to make it myself. I can’t count the times that I’ve seen my mom make this dish. But making it without my mom for the first time was indeed a daunting task (just like making kimchi without my mom for the first time). But I can’t be happier with the end result! It tasted just like how my mom used to make it!
The only difference between my mom’s Japchae and mine is that I don’t use beef in the dish. I doubled the amount of mushroom in the dish to make up for the meaty texture. Using king oyster mushrooms instead of regular button mushrooms really helps to create a meaty texture. I see more and more grocery stores carrying this delicious mushroom as it is becoming popular. But if you have difficulty finding this mushroom, you can substitute it for shiitake mushroom.
For this recipe, I highly recommend buying regular mature spinach instead of baby spinach. Regular spinach often gets overlooked by a shiny bag of baby spinach but I promise you that you can find mature spinach at the produce section in your grocery store. The reason why I like using mature spinach for the recipe is that you get so much more texture and flavor from the stem of spinach.
How to make Vegan Japchae
- Prep your veggies – Thinly slice your onion, carrot, and mushroom. And cut off the very bottom part of your spinach and rinse under cold water and drain.
- Make the Japchae sauce – This sauce is what gives Japchae it’s flavor. It’s sweet, savory, and magical. I made a little more sauce and use the same sauce for cooking my mushroom.
- Stir fry your onion, carrot, and mushroom and set aside.
- Blanch your spinach and season with salt, minced garlic, and sesame oil.
- Boil the Korean glass noodle, rinse under cold water, and stir fry with prepared sauce.
- Time to mix everything together!
Tips on making delicious Japchae:
- Using mature spinach instead of baby spinach, king oyster mushroom instead of button mushroom helps with the overall texture and flavor. However, if you have a hard time finding these recipes, use what you can find.
- When cooking Korean glass noodles, boil the noodles one minute less than what the instruction on the package says. Drain and rinse the noodle with cold water. And as soon as you drain the water, pour about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over the noodle and mix until the noodle is coated with oil. This process helps your noodle to not get soggy and mushy. This is probably a good time to cut your noodle a little bit using kitchen scissors.
- Quickly stir fry your noodles before mixing them with the rest of the vegetables. This ensures your noodles to absorb the flavor from the sauce as well as not get soggy and mushy over time.
This gorgeous and colorful dish is so much more than staple party food in Korea. It also represents good time and comfort. My Japchae may be missing beef in the dish but I assure you it captured all the essence of traditional Japchae especially my mom’s.
Happy eating, my friends!Print
My mom’s Japchae (Korean glass noodles) recipe made into a vegan-friendly version – Sweet and savory noodles with different yummy vegetables! Perfect party food that’s also perfect for any meal of the day!
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Noodle
- Method: Sauté
- Cuisine: Korean
- Diet: Vegan
2-3 large King oyster mushroom, cut lengthwise and into thick strips
3-4 ounces Spinach
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, julienned
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 ounces of Sweet potato noodle (Korean glass noodles/Dhang-myeon)
Sesame seeds (for garnish)
For the sauce:
- In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, fresh ground black pepper, and 3/4 of minced garlic. Set aside.
For the onion:
- On a non-stick pan, add a teaspoon of oil and stir fry the onion. Add a pinch of salt to season the onion.
- Stir fry with constant stirring, about 2-3 min. Set aside.
For the carrot:
- On the same pan, you cooked onion, add another teaspoon of oil, and stir fry the carrot.
- Season with salt. Set aside.
For the mushroom:
- On the same pan you cooked carrot, add the mushroom and cook for 3-4 minutes until it releases its water.
- Add about a tablespoon of prepared Japchae sauce and stir fry for an additional minute or two. Set aside.
For the spinach:
- In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath.
- Blanch the spinach for a minute or two. Once again, using a skimmer or kitchen spider, get all the spinach out of boiling water.
- Place them in the ice bath.
- Drain and squeeze as much water out as possible.
- In a bowl, add the blanched spinach, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, the rest of the minced garlic (about half a clove), and salt to taste.
- Mix well using your hand. Set aside.
- Boil the noodle and cook for about 4-5 minutes. The noodle will soften and become slightly translucent.
- Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and mix it with the noodle. Using kitchen scissors, cut the noodle couple of times.
- On a large pan, heat about 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the noodle. With constant stirring, stir fry the noodle for 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in the prepared sauce to the noodle. Continue to stir fry the noodle for additional 2 minutes until the noodle becomes almost translucent and cooked all the way (you can taste to see if it needs to be cooked a little longer).
- In a large bowl, transfer the noodle into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Garnish with sesame seeds. Enjoy.
Keywords: Vegan Japchae, Korean glass noodles, Vegan korean glass noodles, Korean glass noodle stir-fry, Korean glass noodles, Japchae