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Jap Chae with Kimchi

December 13, 2012

Jap Chae with Kimchi (Korean gluten-free noodles with stir-fried vegetables, chicken, and kimchi)Pin it!

It’s a stressful time of year, when warm comfort food recipes abound.

Jap Chae (Korean stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables) is the rare sort of comfort food that boasts a variety of vegetables.

The tasty noodle dish has a relatively healthy mix of textures, colors, and flavors. Usually made with a little stir-fried beef, jap chae is by no means a meat-centered recipe; this is an ensemble piece. (So you can leave out the protein altogether, or substitute chicken or tofu.)

Jap Chae with Kimchi (Korean gluten-free noodles with stir-fried vegetables, chicken, and kimchi)Pin it!

The dangmyon glass noodles, made from sweet potatoes, are naturally gluten-free. And the vegetables, lightly sautéed in a little oil, remain crisp and fresh-tasting. Frying them individually lets you cook each ingredient for just the right amount of time– and allows the vegetables to keep their bright colors.

The last few times I’ve whipped up jap chae, I couldn’t help but toss in (or rather, fry up) one additional ingredient: kimchi.

Jap Chae with Kimchi (Korean gluten-free noodles with stir-fried vegetables, chicken, and kimchi)

I’ve sung the praises of sautéed kimchi before. Heat up a little kimchi in a skillet and some of the sharp pungency will fade away in favor of a slightly tangy, mellowed and mouth-watering bite.

Unfortunately, the day I took these photos, I did NOT use enough kimchi. I’m not sure what I was thinking! (That I would scare off kimchi skeptics from trying out my glorious version of the stir-fried noodles?) Never fear: I’ve remedied this in the recipe below.

Sauteeing kimchi

The pan-fried kimchi wakes up the whole dish and imparts just a hint of spice to the other ingredients, which are otherwise seasoned simply, with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Making Jap Chae with Kimchi

Don’t be scared off by the number of ingredients either; just because a recipe contains a few ounces each of five different vegetables, doesn’t mean it takes five times as long to make. The most time-consuming bit of prep-work here is probably matchstick-ing the single carrot (2 minutes?), and though you cook each vegetable on its own, none of them takes longer than 4-5 minutes (the onion).

Ingredients for Jap Chae with Kimchi

The next time I make this, I might find myself reaching for an extra (plastic bag coated-)handful of kimchi– even beyond what this recipe calls for. In fact, the flavors all blend so well together, I may never make jap chae without kimchi again.

Jap Chae with Kimchi (Korean gluten-free noodles with stir-fried vegetables, chicken, and kimchi)

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Jap Chae with Kimchi

(Serves 4-6)

~ 1 whole bunch fresh spinach (4-6 oz.)
~ 8-12 oz. of dang myon (sweet potato glass noodles), available at most Asian markets
~ 2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce (for the noodles, plus another 2-3 Tbsp. for the chicken, or to taste) (Check to make sure the soy sauce is gluten-free; many brands aren’t.)
~ 1-1½ Tbsp. sesame oil (plus ½ tsp. for the spinach)
~ olive oil (a little at a time, for frying the vegetables)
~ ½ onion, cut into thin slices or wedges
~ 1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
~ 5-8 shiitake mushrooms or ½ small package (4 oz.) of button mushrooms, sliced
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ 12-16 oz. chicken breast, sliced in bite-size strips (or tofu, or beef)
~ 1 Tbsp. sugar
~ ½ tsp. black pepper
~ 3-4 scallions, sliced in 1″ pieces on the diagonal (green part only)
~ 8-12 oz. kimchi, roughly chopped (use plastic gloves or a ziploc over your hands while prepping)
~ salt, to taste
~ 2-3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
~ red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

Ingredients for Jap Chae with Kimchi

How to make it:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the spinach a handful at a time– for only a few seconds– then pull out each small batch of spinach with a strainer. Repeat with the remaining handfuls of spinach. (This will allow you to use the same pot of boiling water for the spinach, then the noodles, without needing to boil water twice.)

Boiling spinach for Jap Chae with KimchiCooking dang myon - gluten-free Korean noodles

2. Cook the dang myon noodles in the same pot of boiling water– for 5-6 minutes– then drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. They’ll be very long and tangly; cut the noodles one or two times with a pair of scissors if necessary. Then add 2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce and 1- 1½ Tbsp. sesame oil to the noodles and mix well.

Dang myon - gluten-free Korean noodles

3. Squeeze out most of the water from the cooked spinach, cut the spinach with scissors if necessary, then season spinach with ½ tsp. sesame oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sesame seeds. Add the seasoned spinach to the noodles.

Spinach with sesame for Jap Chae

4. Cook the other vegetables one at a time, before removing each cooked vegetable and adding each one to the bowl of noodles in turn. Start by heating up 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat, and cook the onions for 4-5 minutes (until softened and sweet). Then remove the onions– add more olive oil if necessary– and cook the carrots for 2 minutes. Bell pepper will take 3-4 minutes; and mushrooms will take 3-4 minutes. (Don’t add too much new oil just before the mushrooms; they’d simply absorb it all, but they don’t actually need that much.)

Cooking carrots for Jap ChaeMaking Jap Chae with Kimchi

5. Add a touch more olive oil, then cook the garlic for 10 seconds, and fry the tofu (1-2 min. per side) or the chicken or beef (until cooked through) along with 2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and ½ tsp. ground black pepper. When the protein is done cooking, toss in the scallions for another 10 seconds. Then use a slotted spoon to transfer the tofu/chicken/beef and scallions to the bowl of noodles, leaving any extra juices behind.

Cooking mushrooms for Jap ChaeChicken and scallions for Jap Chae with Kimchi

6. Last, cook the kimchi in the skillet for 2-3 minutes (add a touch more oil if necessary), then return everything from the noodle bowl into the pan and cook 2-3 min., stir-frying all of the ingredients together with the noodles (add a dash more soy sauce if needed).
Transfer back to the large bowl or to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and season with a bit of salt to taste right before serving.

Note: A very large skillet is ideal for this recipe, since you re-heat/stir-fry all of the ingredients– including the noodles– together at the end, but if you can’t fit the noodles in your skillet too, then you could cook each of the other ingredients first, and boil the noodles last. In that case, you can re-heat all of the cooked vegetables/protein together in the skillet while boiling the noodles, then drain and rinse the noodles, transfer them to a bowl, season with soy sauce and sesame oil, then add the other warmed ingredients to the just-cooked noodles.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Jap Chae with Kimchi (Korean gluten-free noodles with stir-fried vegetables, chicken, and kimchi)Pin it!

Related recipe posts:
> Kimchi Fried Rice (Bokkeumbap)
> Easy Korean Broiled Bulgogi Chicken
> Pad See-Ew (Thai Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli)

40 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2012 9:11 am

    Sauteed kimchee would make an excellent addition to Jap Chae. I am taking that idea and running with it! :)

    • December 13, 2012 10:53 am

      Thanks! Go for it! Sauteed kimchi makes a nice addition to lots of different things. :)

  2. December 13, 2012 9:29 am

    I love Jap Chae! I am getting inspiration for dinner tonight. Thanks! :)

    • December 13, 2012 10:53 am

      You’re welcome! Hope this turns into a delicious plan for dinner. :)

  3. December 13, 2012 10:03 am

    Great looking dish…love the sound of sautéed kimchi.

    • December 13, 2012 10:54 am

      Thanks! I love raw, fermented kimchi too, but sauteed kimchi has a whole different wonderful flavor.

  4. walgenbe permalink
    December 13, 2012 10:57 am

    I’m so excited that you posted this! One of my favorite all time Korean dishes! I am going to make this on the weekend and eat if for lunch every day. Yay. Also, can’t wait to see you!

    • December 13, 2012 11:01 am

      Yay, I hope you enjoy it! A giant batch of jap chae makes for some pretty awesome leftovers…

      I can’t wait to see you either! …only one week from now! :)

  5. December 13, 2012 11:10 am

    Oh wow, this is my kind of dish! Love all the colourful veggies in there. I need to track down some kimchi and glass noodles (never knew they were made from sweet potatoes!) and give this a go :)

  6. December 13, 2012 12:13 pm

    Gluten free natural noodles? Awesome. Not sure how I feel about kimchi, but this certainly looks interesting!

    • December 17, 2012 8:43 am

      Yep, the noodles are really good, too. I love how much flavor they absorb from the simple, light seasoning of soy sauce and sesame oil. Oh and you can always leave out the kimchi!

  7. December 13, 2012 12:17 pm

    Ahhh… Jap Chae is one of my favorite dishes!! My best friend is Korean and I always get it when we go out to eat! I love the addition of Kimchi and the sesame seeds.

    • December 17, 2012 8:44 am

      Nice! I love jap chae, too. You should try making your own sometime. :)

  8. December 13, 2012 3:59 pm

    This looks SO GOOD! I want some! :D Fae.

  9. December 13, 2012 5:04 pm

    I absolutely love jap chae! Didn’t know the noodles were made out of sweet potato, that’s awesome! And I love your addition of kim chee in there…it does seem like a little spicy kick would take that dish over the top…great idea!

    • December 17, 2012 8:46 am

      Thanks! I love jap chae too. Although I guess it seemed to be lacking in spice to me compared to almost all other Korean dishes… so that’s how I came up with the idea of adding kimchi! (And yes, dangmyon noodles are made from sweet potatoes, so they’re gluten-free.)

  10. December 13, 2012 6:40 pm

    We love jap chae! We’ll have to share our version too :)

  11. December 13, 2012 8:14 pm

    This dish looks fantastic :)
    Love the flavours!

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. December 13, 2012 9:24 pm

    This looks fabulous, Allison!!! I’ve been wanting to make kimchi fried rice for ages…but alas, it has not happened! I might just have to do it now!

    • December 17, 2012 8:50 am

      Thanks, Shari! Kimchi fried rice is the best (it’s even better than jap chae…). And seriously, fried rice is one of the simplest things ever to make– you should try it! :)

  13. December 16, 2012 9:23 am

    If I replaced the chicken I could make this..looks amazing!

    • December 17, 2012 8:50 am

      Yes, go for it! It definitely doesn’t need chicken (or any protein really), and my version is already not authentic since it would usually call for beef.

  14. December 20, 2012 9:39 pm

    Yummy yum yum! Now I won’t have to buy them from my Korean market deli counter. :)

    • December 21, 2012 9:19 am

      Yes! You should definitely make your own jap chae– it’s so easy. And in my experience Korean market deli counters are way overpriced. (Or maybe it’s just me spending too much money on them… but sometimes I don’t want to prepare more than one or two banchan myself!)

  15. May 3, 2013 12:34 am

    Jap-chae is one of my favorite food. It is a good idea to add some Kimchi. I want to give you a tip. Don’t wash the hot-boiled glass noodle with cold water, then the noodle will look more like glass and it won’t become sticky easily.

  16. October 30, 2013 2:00 am

    I am going wild pinning your recipes on Pinterest! I love how varied your posts are, and your “voice” for lack of a better word, but mostly, I’m delighted to find asian recipes that seem so approachable and not at all daunting. Thank you :) Off to read the rest of your posts now!

    • October 31, 2013 8:49 am

      Wow, this is the kind of comment I love to get; thank you! I am all about making the Japanese & Korean recipes that I’ve fallen in love with more approachable for people who are less familiar with those cuisines… I actually intended to make this blog mostly/only about Asian food back when I started it, but blogging (and reading other food blogs) has made me more aware of how much I enjoy a wide variety of dishes—both in the dinners I cook & eat and in my blog posts!

      Anyway, welcome! And thanks again for your kind comment! :)


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