Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles) with Tofu

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Grab a big bowl of Japchae Korean glass noodles with tofu! Each bite is packed with healthy vegetables and plant protein for a delicious gluten-free meal.

Japchae Korean glass noodles in a bowl with tofu

Today we’re going to make your NEW favorite dish, japchae Korean glass noodles! Have you tried this before? The noodles are unique because they aren’t your typical flour or rice-based dough. A special ingredient creates luxurious, see-through noodles with a chewy texture that is quite addictive.

A savory-sweet soy sauce gets infused into each noodle, plus an abundant amount of vegetables and tofu are added for a complete meal. You won’t realize that you’re almost down to your last bite, time for seconds my friend. If you’re ready to try something different or already a fan and want to make japchae right at home, I’m ready when you are!

Metal tongs grabbing noodles from a saute pan

What makes these Korean noodles so special is that they’re made with sweet potato starch. What? Yes, it’s a real thing, I swear, and it’s amazing. The noodles come in these super long bundles that are a light gray in color. Once cooked they become a transparent silver noodle, like looking through “glass,” hence the name. So clever!

The noodles are so long that they need to be cut into smaller strands after boiling unless you like twirling your chopsticks for days and end up with a huge noodle ball. I’d actually like to see that!

Bowl of Japchae with cubes of tofu and slices of mushrooms

The sweet potato starch-based noodles do an excellent job absorbing all of the savory sauce. The sticky strands aren’t “saucy” on the outside like normal pasta dishes. Instead, all of the bold flavors are trapped inside each noodle and delivered straight to your taste buds.

To add more texture and nutrients, shredded carrots, onions, garlic, and blanched spinach are tossed in with the noodles. I added some tofu to the dish for extra protein. Homemade healthy comfort food at it’s best. Grab a few bowls, people that make your heart smile and get ready to grub! What are your other favorite Korean dishes? I’d love to hear!

Chopsticks lifting Japchae out of a bowl

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What do sweet potato noodles taste like and how do I cook them?

Korean sweet potato starch noodles (dang myun), are very neutral in taste. This allows them to grab any flavors from a sauce or other ingredients. Once cooked they are thin, chewy, stretchy and a glassy transparent color. The noodles are cooked very quickly in boiling water for about 5 minutes until rehydrated and chewy. Typically for the Japchae (or chap chae) stir-fried noodle dish, the noodles are cooled under running water to stop the cooking process and drained before adding to the pan. Make sure to cut the noodles into shorter strands to make it easier to grab with chopsticks. These noodles are perfect for stir-fries or even added to soups. Plus they are grain and gluten-free!

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Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles) with Tofu

Grab a big bowl of Japchae Korean glass noodles with tofu! Each bite is packed with healthy vegetables and plant protein for a delicious gluten free meal.
Pin Print Review
4.25 from 57 votes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Korean

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce, low sodium, or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup firm tofu, diced, (7 ounces)
  • 8 ounces sweet potato starch noodles, Assi brand
  • 4 ounces spinach, fresh
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup carrots, shredded
  • 2 scallion stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions 

  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together soy sauce and honey. Add tofu, gently stir to coat and allow to marinate while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, enough to fit the noodles. Cook the noodles for 5 minutes. Do not discard water. You will use it to blanch the spinach.
  • Use tongs to transfer the noodles to a colander and rinse under cool running water.
  • Cut the noodles into 6-inch long pieces with kitcen shears. Set aside.
  • Blanch spinach in the same pot of water that you cooked the noodles, about 1 minute until wilted. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
  • Form spinach into a ball and squeeze out any excess water. Use a knife to cut the spinach ball in half. Set aside.
  • Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and allow it to heat up. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and carrots, saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add scallion and saute 1 minute.
  • Add tofu and cook 1 minute to warm, do not discard the sauce.
  • Turn heat to low and add noodles, spinach, sesame oil, and sauce. Gently stir to combine until noodles are coated. Serve topped with sesame seeds.

Notes

  • For a stronger sauce flavor, add an additional 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 ½ teaspoon honey.
  • Maple syrup, coconut sugar or granulated sugar can be substituted for honey.
  • You can use dried shiitake mushrooms. Rehydrate for 10 minutes in hot water, then slice. The taste will be stronger but gives a nice umami flavor.

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Nutrition Facts
Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles) with Tofu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 373 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Sodium 850mg35%
Potassium 362mg10%
Carbohydrates 67g22%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 5330IU107%
Vitamin C 12.4mg15%
Calcium 142mg14%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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43 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Marlen Marlow says

    I always fry my tofu before adding it into any recipe. Does this recipe call for tofu to not be fried? Curious if it would break in the process of stirring. Looking forward to trying this out! Thanks!

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