Glass Noodles With Vegetables and Meat (For One)

Aya Brackett

Classic Korean japchae is seen more often in restaurants than homes, but it’s easy to make. Since the noodles are best at room temperature, you can make the components up to an hour in advance. Substitute peeled shrimp, salmon fillets, or boneless chicken thighs for the meat, or use tofu slices for a vegetarian version.

Makes: 1 serving
Time: About 1 hour


  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 tablespoon good-quality vegetable oil, plus more if needed

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil, plus more if needed

  • 2 ounces boneless beef sirloin, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 1/2 large carrot, julienned or minced

  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

  • 4 scallions, chopped

  • 2 ounces fresh spinach (or more if you like)

  • 2 ounces mushrooms, trimmed (preferably a mixture of oyster, shiitake, and enoki)

  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic

  • 2 ounces Korean sweet potato vermicelli or bean threads

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, plus more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted


1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and salt it. Put 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and the sesame oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When they’re hot, add the meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Cook the carrots in the same skillet, stirring occasionally, until they lose their crunch, about 3 minutes. Add to the meat.

2. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the carrots and meat. Raise the heat to high and add the scallions. Cook, stirring, until they soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add to the bowl.

3. Add a little more vegetable and sesame oils to the skillet if necessary and stir-fry the spinach over medium heat until it softens, a minute or 2. Sprinkle with a little salt and add it to the bowl. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add to the bowl.

4. Add the noodles to the boiling water and turn off the heat. Let them soak, stirring a couple times, until the noodles are tender but not mushy; start tasting after 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and add them to the bowl, along with the soy sauce. Toss until thoroughly combined, adding salt, pepper, and more sesame oil and/or soy sauce to taste. Garnish with the pine nuts and sesame seeds and serve at room temperature

Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised 20th Anniversary Edition (Photo: Aya Brackett)