Sweet potato noodles are tricky noodle to work with, if you are seeking that perfect chewy bouncy texture but there’s a fool proof way to achieve this & you’ll be surprised how simple it is! No more boiling water, no more running noodles under cold water to make the perfect Chewy Korean Glass Noodles (Chap Chae/Japchae)
Waterloo is where I call home now, and there’s a special friend who I hold dear to my heart that made me feel right at home, being the shy one that I am. My MellyMac, Melissa. 🙂 Melissa now resides in South Carolina but it doesn’t make me sad that she’s so far away because I know she’s spreading her smiles and love with her big heart to new people AND she’s made a lot of homeless dogs very very happy. Melissa is very passionate about animals, and is a very active in volunteering to helping homeless dogs find homes by driving them across states. She even fosters them herself! 🙂 I love this girl and I dedicate this post to her with her most requested recipe, Korean glass noodles – aka Japchae/Chap chae! 🙂
Noodles are my most favourite things in the world to eat. It’s chewy, satisfying, comforting and great for sharing. When I had Korean glass noodles for the first time, I was blown away. The noodles were VERY chewy which made it very satisfying to eat, and the sauce didn’t sit on the surface of the noodles it was absorbed into the noodle! Fascinating eh?
When I got home I knew I HAD to recreate this. At the time, it was not easy to find recipes online like it is today. (Props to my fellow food bloggers out there making it happen! :)) and with MANY failed attempts, I finally figured out a way to make it the texture I had been seeking! So here I share my findings to you, in hopes that you can easily make these yummy noodles at home anytime! 🙂
20 years ago, it was a lot harder to find a Korean supermarket than it is today. I would look high and low for these noodles in Chinese supermarkets with no avail. At the time, I didn’t even know how the noodles would look raw, let alone the name of the noodles so I based it all on how I ‘thought’ it would look raw.
Nowadays, these noodles can be found easily in any Asian supermarket. They are called ‘Sweet Potato Noodles’ on the packaging. They are grayish in colour and about 2 mm thick in diameter.
TYPE OF INGREDIENTS
I kept this recipe simple with the essentials:
- Green Onions
However, you can add as many types of ingredients as you want for variety! A few things to consider:
- Plain omelette cut into thin ribbons
- Shiitake cooked in a sweet soy cut into thin slices
- Zucchini cut into thin ribbons
- Experiment with any vegetable 🙂
Tip #1 : Try not to overdo it with too many vegetables, the chewy noodles are the star of the show! 🙂
On almost every noodle packaging instruction that I found, they always teach you to boil the noodles first.
Don’t do it! 🙂
During my experimentation, I found that boiling the noodles produces a mushy texture. Sometimes the middle of the noodles are still raw! So I was left with the result of either:
- A very mushy noodle stir fry with vegetables
- A mushy noodle with a raw centre, so it was semi crunchy. I love crunchy, but crunchy sweet potato noodles are not pleasant. They stick to your teeth or are very tough to chew through.
What I found worked amazingly was just soaking the noodles for 20 mins in hot water. I just used hot tap water for simplicity! Make sure to run the tap until the water is very hot. If you can’t use tap water, you can boil some water in a kettle and let it sit for 5-10 mins to cool and then soak the noodles in it.
What I found was the noodles were soft and pliable all the way through (still raw!) but it wasn’t mushy. When you boil the noodles in a pot, the boiling water is too hot and the rolling boil agitates the starch which causes a mushy texture. Soaking it gives it a nice an easy bath without agitation at a more cool temperature.
Tip #2: Cut the noodles after you are done soaking them. They are quite hard to work with and eat when they are left at it’s long length.
Tip #3: Mix a bit of sesame oil into the noodles after they are done soaking to prevent them from sticking to eachother.
While the noodles are soaking you can chop the vegetables. Almost all the ingredients just need to be chopped into matchsticks to match the shape of the noodles 🙂 except the spinach.
For the spinach, boil it for approximately 2 mins. After 2 mins, rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and squeeze all the water out of the spinach. You want a very dry textured spinach.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
You’re probably going to look at everything and say to yourself “Uhh that’s a whole lotta ingredients to fit into this little frying pan!” …and you’re right! It will look like there’s a lot of ingredients to be stuffing into a tiny frying pan, but the noodles when cooked will shrink and the vegetables will wilt.
BUT you’re still right! There was no way I was going to fit all that food into my itty bitty frying pan so I had to do this in 2 steps.
Tip #4: When you are mixing the soy sauce mixture together, use hot water. This will melt the sugars so that it doesn’t sit at the bottom of the sauce.
Tip #5: Always toast your sesame seeds! 🙂 I never found an occasion where raw sesame seeds tasted better than toasted. Toasting the seeds also gets rid of any stale flavours as well! 🙂
First, I cooked all the vegetables together for about 5 mins and then I transferred it to another bowl. Next, I cooked the noodles, with half the soy sauce mixture and when the noodles were almost cooked and had shrunk in size by half, I added the vegetables back into the frying pan and added the other half of the soy sauce mixture.
…and voila! 🙂 You’re done!
Tip #6: Put the green onions last. You don’t want to cook them too much. The green onions at the end bring the noodles together into a more well rounded flavour.
Tip #7: Once it is done cooking, It’s easier to mix all the ingredients together by hand. Just don’t forget to let it cool down a bit first before doing this. 😛
These are always a hit at potlucks and parties, I have never met a person who didn’t love these 🙂 Just be careful if you put these noodles in the fridge, the starch in the noodles will harden up from the cold so you can’t serve them straight from the fridge and will require some re-heating. Re-heat it in the microwave a few minutes at a time (mixing in between) to prevent it from melting into a small goopy solid mound of noodles 🙂
If you make these noodles, let us know and show us with #pupswithchopsticks! …and always if you have any questions, send us a message! 🙂
These Korean glass noodles are chewy, flavourful and fun to eat. Always a hit at potlucks and parties and very simple to make.
- 1/2 cups of soy sauce (adjust if you want this more salty)
- 1/2 cups of hot water
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 4-5 tsp sugar
- 400 grams sweet potato noodles (approx 2/3 of the pack)
- 1-2 carrot (cut into matchsticks)
- 1 bundle spinach
- 1-2 peppers (sliced into strips)
- 2 stalks green onion (chopped thinly)
- 1-2 onions (sliced into strips)
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the Soy Sauce mixture and set aside.
In a large bowl, add hot water (tap or kettle boiled). Add noodles in for 20 mins to soak. [If you are using kettle boiled water, let it cook for 5-10 mins before soaking].
Prepare the vegetables by cutting them roughly the same size in matchsticks and strips. Set aside.
Boil the spinach for 2 mins. Once it is done, run it under cold water to stop the cooking process and squeeze it dry. The texture should be dry and not soggy.
Optional: Season it with a little salt.
Toast sesame seeds in a frying pan on low heat until brown. Set aside.
After 20 mins, when the noodles are soft, cut them roughly 4 inches long and sprinkle some (sesame) oil to prevent sticking.
In a large non-stick frying pan, add oil and adjust the heat to medium to medium low.
Once the oil has warmed up, add in the veggies (except the green onions) and cook them for approximately 5 mins or until they are soft and cooked
When the vegetables are cooked and if your frying pan is not large enough to hold all the ingredients, remove the vegetables from the frying pan and put it aside.
Add a little more oil and wait until it is up to temperature again
Add the noodles and half the soy sauce mixture and cook for about 2-3 mins. Keep flipping the noodles, until they are transparent and no longer translucent.
When the noodles are almost done, add the vegetables back in and add in the remainder of the soy sauce mixture and cook for another 1-2 mins.
Turn off the heat and add in the green onions and sesame seeds and mix well. (It's easier to mix it with your hands when the ingredients are all cool :))