Korean Sweet Potato Noodles

Photo by Taekwonweirdo/flickr

These noodles are sold in quite large packets, each packet holding 3 hanks of noodles, each one held by a paper band. This makes it convenient to cook noodles sufficient for 6 people by using one of the hanks. This is a simple version of japchae.


250 g/8 oz sweet potato starch noodles (dang myun)
2 medium carrots
1 red capsicum, sliced finely
1 leek or 6 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
250 g/8 oz lean rump or fillet, sliced paper-thin
2 tablespoons Korean chili bean paste
3 tablespoons Korean or Japanese soy sauce
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil


In a large pot of lightly salted, fast boiling water, cook the noodles allowing 7 or 8 minutes rather than the 5 or 6 recommended on the packet instructions. Drain in a colander, run cold water through and leave to drain again.

Shred the carrots very finely. Japanese graters do this without much effort. Have all the vegetables ready before starting to cook.

Heat oil and on low heat fry the garlic until soft. Add beef and stir-fry until colour changes. Add vegetables and stir-fry until half tender, then stir in the chilli bean paste, soy sauce and sesame oil and add the noodles, tossing until they are well combined with the rest. Taste and add more soy sauce if necessary. Serve hot.


Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)