Chap Jae I Recipe - Korean Ground Beef and Cellophane Noodle Stir Fry

Chap Jae I

Chap Jae I Recipe - Korean Ground Beef and Cellophane Noodle Stir Fry
Region / culture: Korea | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4


Chap Jae I
Chap Jae I

Chap Jae, also known as Japchae, is a popular Korean dish made with cellophane noodles, vegetables, and meat. It is a flavorful and colorful dish that is often served at special occasions and celebrations.


Chap Jae has its origins in Korean cuisine and has been enjoyed for centuries. It is believed to have been created during the Joseon Dynasty in the 17th century. The dish was traditionally served at royal banquets and has since become a beloved dish in Korean households.


How to prepare

  1. Fry the meat in a small amount of cooking oil until it is done, then set it aside.
  2. Cook the noodles in boiling water and test for tenderness. They should be soft but firm. Rinse the noodles in cold water when they are done.
  3. Cut the noodles into 3 or 4 inch lengths.
  4. Cook the spinach in boiling water, then drain it and rinse it in cold water. Drain it again and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Set it aside.
  5. If dried mushrooms are being used, wash them well and soak them in warm water for 15 minutes. If using fresh mushrooms, wash them well.
  6. Chop the mushrooms into small pieces.
  7. Over medium heat in a wok or frying pan, heat some cooking oil and stir-fry the mushrooms, onion, and carrots until they are barely tender.
  8. Add the meat, noodles, spinach, and more oil if needed to prevent sticking.
  9. Stir and cook, adding sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, MSG, garlic, pepper, and salt. Taste as you cook and mix in the seasonings, adjusting them to taste.
  10. Heat the mixture just long enough to heat the ingredients and blend the flavors by mixing.


  • Vegetarian Chap Jae: Omit the pork and add tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version of the dish.
  • Seafood Chap Jae: Add shrimp, squid, or fish to the dish for a seafood twist.
  • Spicy Chap Jae: Add gochujang (Korean chili paste) or red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to cook the noodles until they are soft but still firm, as they will continue to cook when stir-fried with the other ingredients.

- Be sure to taste and adjust the seasonings as you cook, as the flavors can vary depending on personal preference.

- To prevent the noodles from sticking together, rinse them in cold water after cooking and cutting them into lengths.

Serving Suggestions

Chap Jae can be served as a main dish or as a side dish alongside other Korean dishes such as bulgogi or kimchi. It pairs well with steamed rice and a side of pickled vegetables.

Cooking Techniques

Stir-frying is the main cooking technique used in making Chap Jae. It is important to cook the ingredients quickly over high heat to retain their texture and flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you are unable to find cellophane noodles, you can use sweet potato noodles or rice noodles as a substitute. You can also use chicken or tofu instead of pork for a different protein option.

Make Ahead Tips

Chap Jae can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Simply reheat the dish in a pan or microwave before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish Chap Jae with toasted sesame seeds or chopped green onions for a pop of color and flavor. Serve the dish in a large platter or individual bowls for a beautiful presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Chap Jae pairs well with a variety of Korean side dishes such as kimchi, pickled vegetables, and Korean pancakes. It also goes well with a cold glass of Korean rice wine or green tea.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover Chap Jae in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, simply heat the dish in a pan over medium heat until warmed through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Chap Jae contains approximately 350-400 calories, depending on the portion size and ingredients used.


Cellophane noodles are a good source of carbohydrates, providing energy for the body. The vegetables in Chap Jae also contribute to the carbohydrate content of the dish.


Sesame oil and cooking oil are sources of fats in Chap Jae. These fats add flavor to the dish and provide essential nutrients for the body.


Pork is the main source of protein in Chap Jae, providing essential amino acids for muscle growth and repair.

Vitamins and minerals

Spinach, mushrooms, onions, and carrots are rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and iron. These nutrients are important for overall health and well-being.


Chap Jae contains soy sauce, which may contain gluten. It also contains sesame oil, which may be a potential allergen for some individuals.


Chap Jae is a nutritious dish that provides a balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is a flavorful and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.


Chap Jae is a delicious and nutritious Korean dish that is perfect for any occasion. With its colorful array of vegetables, tender pork, and flavorful seasonings, it is sure to be a hit with family and friends. Enjoy this classic Korean dish as a main course or side dish for a satisfying meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of anticipation I felt when I first discovered this recipe for Chap Jae. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my friend Anna, who had just returned from a trip to Korea. She had learned how to make this traditional Korean dish from her relatives, and she insisted on teaching me the recipe.

As we gathered the ingredients and prepared the vegetables, Anna shared stories of her time in Korea. She talked about the bustling markets filled with colorful produce, the aroma of sizzling meats from street vendors, and the warm hospitality of her family. I listened intently, eager to learn more about the culture and traditions that inspired this delicious dish.

The key to Chap Jae is the careful preparation of each ingredient. Anna taught me how to julienne the vegetables, marinate the meat, and cook the noodles to perfection. She emphasized the importance of balance in flavors and textures, combining sweet, salty, and savory elements to create a harmonious dish.

I followed Anna's instructions closely, stirring the vegetables and meat in the hot wok, watching as the colors brightened and the aromas filled the kitchen. The noodles soaked up the flavorful sauce, becoming tender and fragrant. I couldn't wait to taste the final result.

As we sat down to eat, I marveled at the beauty of the dish before me. The vibrant colors of the vegetables, the rich umami of the soy sauce, and the tender chewiness of the noodles all came together in a symphony of flavors. Each bite was a delight, a reminder of the love and care that went into preparing this meal.

After that day, Chap Jae became a staple in my cooking repertoire. I made it for family gatherings, potlucks with friends, and quiet evenings at home. Each time I prepared the dish, I thought of Anna and the memories we shared in her kitchen. The recipe became more than just a dish – it was a connection to a dear friend and a faraway land.

Over the years, I continued to refine and adapt the recipe, adding my own twists and variations. I experimented with different vegetables, proteins, and seasonings, creating new versions of Chap Jae that reflected my own tastes and experiences. But no matter how many times I made it, the essence of the dish remained the same – a celebration of tradition, friendship, and the joy of cooking.

Now, as I pass on this recipe to you, my beloved grandchild, I hope that you will find as much pleasure in making and sharing Chap Jae as I have. May it bring you closer to the flavors and stories of Korea, and may it remind you of the love and laughter that fills our kitchen whenever we gather to cook and eat together.

With each chop of the vegetables, each sizzle of the meat, and each twirl of the noodles, may you feel the connection to those who came before us and the traditions that have shaped us. And may the flavors of Chap Jae always remind you of the warmth and joy that cooking can bring into our lives.

So go ahead, my dear grandchild, and make this recipe your own. Add your own touch, share it with loved ones, and savor each bite with gratitude and love. And remember, as you cook and eat, that you are not just making a dish – you are creating memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy!


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