Korean-style sweet potato noodle stir-fry

A simplified version of a delicious and healthy dish!

Based on a traditional dish called japchae, this Korean-inspired stir fry is a flavourful meal that the whole family will likely enjoy. Gluten-free sweet potato noodles are reminiscent of rice vermicelli but I find they have a little more flavour. You can find them at most Asian markets, plus many large grocery stores carry them now in their ethnic foods section. The authentic Korean version takes much longer to prepare but this simplified version still captures the essence of what is a very popular, healthy, hearty dish. While beef is most commonly used, you could easily substitute chicken, shrimp or cubed firm tofu. While I adore this dish hot out of the wok, it is also pretty tasty at room temperature, which is how it’s often served in Korea.

Japchae Sweet Potato Noodle Stirfry


  • 6 ounces (170 grams) Korean sweet potato starch vermicelli*
  • 1/4 pound (110 grams) sirloin steak, sliced into 2-inch strips
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) each julienned carrots, English cucumbers and red pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped arugula, spinach or bok choy
  • canola or vegetable oil, for stir frying
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) thinly sliced green onions (for garnish)

*Most sweet potato vermicelli comes in 400 gram (14 ounce) packages; 6 ounces is just under half a package.

For sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) rice wine (sake) or white wine
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) chili garlic sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) finely minced gingerroot
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) finely minced garlic

Sweet Potato Vermicelli Stir Fry


  • Prepare sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Put sliced beef in a broad, shallow dish and drizzle 2 – 3 tablespoons of the sauce over the beef, tossing to coat. Set aside.
  • Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water, adjusting noodles as needed so they are completely covered. Let soak while you cook the beef and vegetables.
  • While noodles are soaking, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the marinated been and stir fry, flipping meat often (I find tongs really helpful when stir frying) until cooked, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove beef to a clean bowl and set aside.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok. Working with vegetables from firmest to softest, add the carrots first and stir fry for 2 minutes, tossing often with tongs or chopsticks. Add the onions and cook 2 minutes more. Add the peppers and mushrooms and cook for two minutes, continuing to toss the vegetables. Cover with a lid and let cook 2 minutes.
  • Return beef to pan and combine well with vegetables. Add well-drained noodles and toss to combine, then drizzle remaining sauce over top. Stir fry for 3 minutes until noodles are warm and well-coated with sauce. Add greens and stir fry 1 minute longer until greens are wilted.
  • Transfer mixture to two warmed bowls and top with sliced green onions.

Makes 2 generous servings; can easily be doubled or tripled.

Korean-style sweet potato noodle stir-fry

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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