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Soy Glazed Potatoes

Soy Glazed Potatoes


Whenever I tell people that I don’t love potatoes, they gasp as if I just said I hate kittens. But it’s true, they aren’t my fave veggie by a long shot. I usually find them kind of bland and boring. Generally when I want a read more




In the realm of Japanese cuisine, few dishes evoke the same sense of warmth and nostalgia as Oyakodon. Even its name, where the literal translation is parent and child rice bowl, conjures comfort. The parent and child actually refers to the juicy morsels of chicken read more

Beef Japchae

Beef Japchae


I don’t like to abuse the phrase “game changer”, but sometimes its use is warranted. And this Beef Japchae recipe is one of those times. Japchae is as ubiquitous in Korea as mac and cheese is in the states but it’s more versatile. Although it’s often a side dish served with Kalbi and Bulgogi, it’s also eaten as a snack at room temperature, served as street food as I had on my recent trip to Seoul, and picked up at grocery stores to make a quick meal on the go.

The noodles are made from sweet potato starch so they are gluten free, but they are a fun gluten free-meaning they are traditionally this way, not manipulated to be gluten free and ending up as a pale imitation. They have a delightfully springy texture and absorb sauces beautifully. Making Japchae noodles often involves boiling the noodles separately while stir frying the meat and other ingredients. Each ingredients gets stir fried individually and then the noodles are drained and added to the wok. I’ve also seen variations where everything is tossed together like a giant salad once the individual components are cooked.

Nothing wrong with that process, but it is a bit time consuming, requiring many steps, and the main reason why I made Japchae at home infrequently. Like everyone else, cooking time was a luxury during the week with everything else going on. But then I saw a different process years ago on one of my favorite food blogs, Maangchi, and tried it for myself when I developed my Mushroom Japchae recipe. And it works beautifully. This Beef Japchae is made by layering the noodles and veggies in a heavy pot, and cooking it on medium heat for 20 mins. It’s literally a “set it and forget it” scenario. Game Changer!

You need this (almost) one pot wonder filled with a tangle of noodles, veggies, and tender beef in your life, so let’s get into it.

ingredients for beef japchae

I start making Beef Japchae by soaking the sweet potato noodles. They need to soak about a half hour, until they are pliant. This gives me plenty of time to get everything else prepped and ready to go, starting with marinating the beef. I use a thinly shaved beef, like the kind you’d use for a Philly cheesesteak. I’ve been seeing this available more and more at grocery stores. You can of course slice the meat thinly yourself. Make sure to place the meat in the freezer for about an hour to make it easier. I like a marbled beef for better flavor and tender texture, like a rib eye but you can choose whatever is your favorite cut.

beef soy


marinated beef

I set the beef aside to marinate and get started prepping the veggies.

carrots japchae

onion red pepper beef

I cut the scallions into 2 inch lengths:

When all the vegetables are chopped, it is time to start layering everything in the pot. I cannot stress this enough, but the key to this dish is using a heavy bottom pot with a tight heavy lid. I used my dutch oven which has a 7 quart capacity. You can weigh the lid down with a large can or something else as needed. If your lid bounces around while the noodles cook, you may lose moisture too quickly, drying out the pan and leaving you with only partially cooked noodles.

noodles japchae

Now it’s time to mix the sauce ingredients and add them to the pot.

adding sauce japchae

While the noodles cook, it’s time to quickly stir fry the beef. Make sure the pan is good and hot before adding the oil so the beef doesn’t stick and will caramelize. Let it cook for a minute without touching it. Again this is to try and get some caramelization. Stirring it around immediately in a cool pan will give you soggy steamed meat.

I cook the meat separately because I like my beef caramelized with a touch of pink- soft and juicy. I know you’re asking yourself, why can’t I just add the beef on top of the noodles and call it a day? Are you not encouraging us to make lazy/smart Japchae? Oh wise one, you can and save yourself a step and some dishwashing. However, some steps are important and I would advise that this is one of them. Otherwise, the beef which will be steaming for about 10 minutes, will be grey and probably a little overcooked.

But if that’s not enough to dissuade you, then do yourself a favor and choose a tender, well marbled cut and take a couple minutes to separate the beef as best you can as you lay it on top of the uncooked noodles (if the beef cooks as a giant clump, you will not be able to separate it later). Then cover the pot with the lid and proceed with cooking the same way.

str fry beef

spinach japchae

I have tried this dish many times and several of my family and friends have also tried it with great results. The key is to use a heavy pot, like a dutch oven that has a tight heavy lid. Once 20 minutes are up, take off the lid and taste a noodle. It should be chewy and full cooked. If it still has a small core, replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes, adding a couple tablespoons of water if the pan is dry. However, if the noodles are cooked after 20 minutes but you still see a lot of liquid in the pot, raise the heat to medium high for a couple minutes to cook off some of the excess liquid. This dish should not be overly saucy.

Once your Japchae is ready, transfer it to a platter and garnish with some toasted sesame seeds.

I hope you love this streamlined version of Beef Japchae! Please take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe and let me know what you think. And don’t forget to tag us in your glorious dinner pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

If this Beef Japchae reminds you how much you love Korean food check out some of our other popular recipes like Watermelon Soju, Spicy Bean Sprouts, and Gochujang Meatloaf.


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Beef Japchae

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes + 30 minute soak
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: entrees
  • Cuisine: Korean


  • 6 ounces sweet potato noodles, soaked in water for 30 mins or until pliant
  • 1 large onion, trimmed, halved, and sliced thin 
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 pack shimeji mushrooms about 3.5 ounces (or 4 ounces of any other mushroom)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (about 1.5 ounces)
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

Marinated Beef:

  • ½ pound thin sliced beef (I used a philly steak-style sliced rib eye)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • A couple grinds/dashes ground black pepper


  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • Ground black pepper to taste


Marinate the beef:

  1. Place the beef, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, black pepper, and sesame oil into a bowl and mix the beef so that it is well coated.
  2. Set aside.

Make the sauce:

  1. Put all of the sauce ingredients into a bowl or cup and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Set aside.

Make the Japchae:

  1. Place the sliced onion, carrot, and bell pepper in the bottom of a large heavy bottom pot. Add the water and oil and toss so the vegetables are evenly coated. 
  2. Drain the noodles and cut them into manageable lengths (the length of spaghetti) with a pair of kitchen scissors. Place the noodles in an even layer over the vegetables. 
  3. Pour the sauce evenly over the noodles trying to cover as much of the noodles as possible.
  4. Cover the pot and set it on the stove. Turn the heat to medium and set the timer for 20 minutes. Let the noodles cook undisturbed while you cook the beef.
  5. Heat a medium pan over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the oil and swirl to cover the pan and add the beef in a thin layer.
  6. Cook the beef without touching it for 1 minute and then use chopsticks or tongs to stir fry it for another minute. It should still be a little red and undercooked.
  7. When 20 minutes have passed, remove the lid. Check that the noodles have cooked through. They should be chewy and bouncy but not unpleasantly firm or hard. (If the noodles taste undercooked, place the lid again and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water if the pot looks dry.)
  8. There may still be some liquid in the pan. If there is, raise the heat to medium high and cook off some of the liquid as you stir the noodles to incorporate the vegetables.
  9. Taste again and adjust seasoning with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, or pepper as needed.
  10. Add the beef and continue mixing for another minute. Add the sesame oil, scallions, and spinach and cook for another minute until they have wilted. 
  11. Transfer the noodles to a serving dish, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve immediately.


*Japchae is delicious hot, warm, or room temperature, which makes them great for a potluck or barbecue. You can refrigerate any leftovers for several days. Reheat on medium low for several minutes in a covered pan, stirring a couple times. Once the noodles are a clear color again, they are done. You can also reheat in a microwave on 50% power for 3-5 minutes. Heat in 1 minute bursts, stirring in between.

*Use gluten free soy sauce to make the dish fully gluten free.

*If you do not have the exact vegetables mentioned, you can substitute. Kale, snap peas, and zucchini all make good substituttions. Some vegetables, like mushrooms and zucchini are very water logged, so you may have a lot of water remaining in the pot after the noodles have finished cooking. Just raise the heat to medium high and cook it off for a couple minutes.

Keywords: beef japchae, korean, one pot, mushrooms

8 Treasure Rice

8 Treasure Rice


Lunar New Year starts on February 10th this year. It is a 2 week celebration that is one of the most (raucously!) celebrated holidays of the year for the more than 1.5 billion people worldwide that celebrate. Think fireworks, parades, elaborate decorations, gifts, new festive read more

Vegetarian Flat Noodles

Vegetarian Flat Noodles


I can’t believe we’ve gotten through almost the entire first month of the year and I haven’t posted a noodle recipe yet. Well that travesty ends today! These Vegetarian Flat Noodles are an absolute winner of a dish. They are on the table so fast- read more

Vegetarian Bibimbap

Vegetarian Bibimbap


Looking for delicious ways to incorporate more veggies into your meals? Make this Vegetarian Bibimbap! At its most basic, bibimbap means “mixed rice”. But there’s nothing basic about this beloved Korean dish of warm rice topped with seasonal vegetables, a tongue tingling gochujang sauce, and a fried egg. This is a nourishing meal in a bowl, and while the ingredient list and steps may look long, don’t worry; the toppings can be prepared in the time it takes the rice to cook. Vegetarian Bibimbap is one of my favorite ways to serve a meatless meal as there’s so many textures and flavors happening and each bowl looks almost too pretty to eat. Trust me when I say that no one served this bowl bursting with colorful piles of seasoned veggies and a gorgeous perfectly fried egg is going to miss the meat, so let’s get into it!

Vegetarian Bibimbap Prep

I start making this bibimbap by prepping all the veggies while the rice cooks, starting with the bean sprouts. I quickly blanch them, saving the hot water to also blanch the spinach. Use a spider or slotted spoon to scoop out the bean sprouts and then continue on with the spinach. Rinse the bean sprouts briefly to cool them down.

blanche sprouts bibimbap

oil sprouts

drain and rinse spinach

When the bean sprouts and spinach are done, I set them aside and chop the rest of the vegetables for our Vegetarian Bibimbap.

veggies for vegetarian bibimbap

carrot matchsticks bibimbap

sliced zucchini

peppers bibimbap

mushrooms bibimbap

Cooking Vegetarian Bibimbap

Now that all the veggies are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to start cooking. All of the vegetables get cooked separately so that each flavor remains distinct. The carrots will taste like carrots, the zucchini will taste like zucchini, etc. Plus you want that beautiful rainbow in your bowl.

Each vegetable only gets cooked briefly though so the process goes quickly. We are looking for a crisp-tender texture here, not overcooked and mushy. Each element gets separately seasoned as well, so that every bite of the bibimbap explodes with flavor. It’s not necessary to wash out your pan between veggies. Just wipe it out with a paper towel and you’re good to go.

shrooms bibimbap


As each item cooks I put them in bowls and set aside for when it’s time to construct the bibimbap bowls.

Now that all the vegetables are seasoned and cooked it’s time to fry the eggs. Check out Perfect Fried Eggs for a quick primer on getting them right! Once they are done it’s time to assemble the Vegetarian Bibimbap bowls. Divide the rice between 4 bowls, and top with the vegetables, some kimchi, the egg, and a nice sized dollop of gochujang  I like to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top too. If you have picky eaters, let them assemble their own bowls, taking more of the veggies they like and less of the ones they don’t.

See what I mean when I say that no one is going to be looking for meat when presented with these beautiful bowls overflowing with goodies? Make these Vegetarian Bibimbap this weekend and see for yourself! Remember to comment and let me know what you think, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

Can’t get enough Korean food? Me neither, check out some of our most popular Korean recipes:

Radish Kimchi


Potato Pancake




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recipe card vegetarian bibimbap

Vegetarian Bibimbap

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: bowls, entrees
  • Cuisine: Korean


  • 4 tablespoons neutral oil divided
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil divided
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper divided
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 5 cloves)
  • 12 ounces mushrooms (you can use button, shiitake, cremini, oyster, or a mix)
  • 6 ounces bean sprouts
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 8 ounces kimchi (any kind)
  • 4 fried eggs
  • 5 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds divided
  • 4 tablespoons gochujang


Prep Your Vegetables:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Put the bean sprouts in the pot and stir. Cook the bean sprouts for 1 minute. Take the beansprouts out with a strainer and then bring the pot of water back to a boil. 
  2. Rinse the bean sprouts quickly under running water to cool them down. Set them aside to finish draining.
  3. Mix 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper in a bowl. Add the bean sprouts, mix well, and set aside.
  4. When the water returns to a boil, add the spinach, stir it into the water. As soon as it wilts, take the pot off the heat and drain the spinach in a colander.
  5. Rinse quickly under running water to cool enough to handle. Squeeze out the water and then roughly chop the spinach and put it in a bowl.
  6. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of ground pepper. Set aside.
  7. Peel the carrots and then slice thinly, stack the slices and cut through to create matchsticks.
  8. Push the carrots to the side of your chopping board or put the carrots in a bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, toss, and set aside. (I have a large chopping board so I’m able to keep the 3 prepped veggies on the cutting board, eliminating the need for any additional bowls. If you can do this too, I recommend it so you can cut down on doing dishes later.)
  9. Wash the zucchini well to eliminate any sand. Trim the ends and then slice thinly, stack the slices and cut through to create matchsticks.
  10. Put the zucchini in a bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, toss, and set aside.
  11. Cut the red pepper in half and take out the core and seeds. Cut the peppers in half crosswise (so your strips will not be too long) and then slice thinly. Set aside.

Cook the vegetables:

  1. Wipe, trim, and cut the mushrooms so they are roughly the same size, either in thick slices, wedges, or quarters. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the mushrooms. Do not touch the mushrooms for 1 minute to let them caramelize. Add 1 teaspoon garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, a pinch of ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Stir fry for 2-3 more mins until the mushrooms are cooked. Put the mushrooms on a large plate and return the pan to the stove. 
  2. Wipe out the pan (no need to wash it) and heat it over medium high heat. 
  3. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and the carrots. Stir fry for 3-4 mins. Put the carrots next to the mushrooms and return the pan to the stove.
  4. Again wipe out the pan and heat it over high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, the zucchini, 1 teaspoon of garlic, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Stir fry for 1-2 mins. until the zucchini is wilted. Put the zucchini on the same plate as the carrots and return the pan to the stove.
  5. Again wipe out the pan and heat it over medium high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, the peppers, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Stir fry for 1 minute and then put the peppers on the vegetable plate. Return the pan to the stove.
  6. Again wipe out the pan and heat it over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes. Crack the four eggs into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl the pan to coat with oil. Then carefully pour the eggs into the pan. As soon as the eggs start to set, which takes about 1-2 minutes, cover with a lid and then let cook for 1-2 mins until the white is set but the yolks are soft and jiggly. Take the pan off of the heat and then use a rubber spatula to remove the eggs to a plate to keep them from overcooking.
  7. Divide the rice into 4 large bowls. Top each bowl with a quarter of the bean sprouts, the spinach, the mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and red pepper. Add some kimchi to each bowl, put a fried egg at the center of each bowl, and then add a tablespoon of the gochujang sauce on the inside rim of the bowl. Garnish with some extra sesame seeds if desired.
  8. Serve the vegetarian bibimbaps immediately.

Keywords: rice, kimchi, korean, spinach, bibibimbap, fried egg