Chap Chae Korean Noodles

I am on vacation with my husband's family in Maui and lucky for me, I've had the chance to learn how to make several authentic Korean dishes. By shadowing and cooking with my mother in law this week, I'm finally able to capture the measurements of ingredients and cooking directions for complex dishes like chap chae and kimchi from her.

I love Asian noodle dishes and chap chae has always been a favourite of mine. It's made with various vegetables and mushrooms and in fact, this dish was originally prepared with vegetables including carrots, spinach, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Only later were noodles incorporated to make a heartier, starch dish.

Serves 8-10 ppl

Prep and cook time: 2 hrs plus at least 1.5 hrs to soak the mushrooms

You will need the following ingredients:
28 g packaged dried black wood ear mushrooms
6 large shitake mushrooms
2 pack of 780 grams Korean sweet potato starch noodles
400 grams rib eye or sirloin beef steak, cut in strips
1 red pepper, julienned
1 or 2 carrots, julienned
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 lb baby spinach
Soy sauce
Minced garlic
Brown sugar
Sesame oil
Black pepper
Mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)
Canola oil

Prep in advance: 
Soak the black wood ear mushrooms for 1.5 hrs. Drain water, wash thoroughly and slice in thirds
In a separate bowl, soak the shiitake mushrooms for 1.5 hrs, remove stems and slice thinly
*You can also soak both overnight

Ingredients for the noodles:
2 pack of 780 grams Korean sweet potato starch noodles
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/4 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 quart / 16 cups water
5 tbsp Sesame oil

Instructions for noodles:

Korean sweet potato noodles "tang myun"
Place the water, soy sauce, minced garlic, brown sugar and just 1 tbsp sesame oil in a large pot and bring to boil. Add noodles and cook for about 8 min, until cooked to el dente. Drain the liquid and place the noodles in a large, deep bowl.

Drizzle the remaining 4 tbsp sesame oil over the noodles and toss to coat noodles, this prevents the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.

Meat and vegetable ingredients:
400 grams rib eye or sirloin, cut in strips
1 red pepper, julienned
1-2 medium carrot, julienned
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 lb baby spinach

Shiitake, black wood ear mushrooms and sliced beef

Place the beef and softened shiitake mushrooms in a medium bowl and add the below ingredients:
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
Mix and let it marinate for 15 min.

After soaking the black ear mushrooms and washing thoroughly, add the following to the bowl and mix together:
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp pepper

Cooking instructions:

Over medium-high heat, add 1/4 tsp canola oil in a medium non-stick pan and fry the onions. Add 1/8 tsp salt, cook the onions for 4 min, remove from pan and set aside in a large bowl.

Sauteed vegetables and mushrooms

*Keeping the vegetables in a separate bowl from the noodles ensures there is no heat transfer, thus overcooking the noodles.

Add 1/8 tsp oil to the pan and cook the carrots, sprinkle some salt and cook for 2-3 min. Remove and set aside with the onions.

Next, cook peppers in 1/8 tsp oil, sprinkle with salt and cook for 1 min. Remove and set aside with the cooked vegetables.

Cook the beef and shiitake mushrooms in 1/2 tsp oil for about 3 min until beef is just cooked. Add the black ear mushrooms and mix together, cooking for another 3 min. Remove and set aside.

Place 1/8 cup of water and 1 1/2 tsp salt in the pan and sauté the spinach for 5 min until it’s soft. Turn off the heat and remove the spinach. Pour into a colander to drain the water well. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to squeeze out most of the liquid and set aside.

Combine the cooked ingredients with the noodles and
toss with your hands to mix everything together
Finally, with your hands, toss everything together with the noodles, adding 4-5 tbsp soy sauce,1 tbsp sesame oil and 1/4 cup sesame seeds.
Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Korean sweet potato noodles "tang myun"
Black wood ear mushrooms, dried (L) and soaked (R)


  1. I love, love, love that you're learning whilst on holiday. How great is that? Fantastic!

    1. such an amazing time, learning from my MIL and SIL!!

    2. That's I feel when I learn from my family as well. It's just wonderful. Keep up the great work, Donna. You inspire me and I want to try stuff that you make. Some I can't try because of allergies and immune system stuff but, the inspiration is still there. Red beans, here I come. Muwhahahaha.


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