Sweet potato glass noodles are combined with vegetables, tofu, and a sweet and savory sauce, making this a hearty and healthy meal option. This is a vegan Japchae that's also gluten-free. Sweet potato noodles are also known as Korean glass noodles and are quick and easy to put together when in an instant pot! The noodles are made from sweet potato starch and have a glass-like appearance and a wonderfully chewy texture. It's a family favorite, so I hope you try it!
What Are Sweet Potato Glass Noodles?
Sweet potato glass noodles are also known as Japchae, which translates directly to "mixed vegetables." It was first introduced around the 17th century as a noodle-less dish. It's a sweet and savory Korean dish of stir-fried noodles and vegetables, but it's more popularly known as Korean glass noodles because, upon cooking, they become transparent.
These noodles are luscious, clear, and transparent. They are made from sweet potatoes, but not by spiralizing them. Rather, they are made using sweet potato starch.
Sweet potato glass noodles come in u-shaped long bundles and appear stiff and grayish in the dried, uncooked version. Once cooked, they become transparent glass, like see-through noodles. It's easy to fall in love with their look as well as their chewy and slippery texture.
What is Vegan Japchae?
This recipe for sweet potato glass noodles is a vegan Japchae dish. The noodles are made from sweet potato starch which is plant-based and vegan, and the protein source is tofu instead of beef or any other meat. Tofu is a healthy plant-based, high protein meat alternative. There are no dairy or eggs in this noodle dish, so it is completely plant-based and therefore vegan.
This recipe is also gluten-free. I use low-sodium tamari, which is gluten-free, but you can also use soy sauce instead of Tamari if gluten-free isn't a requirement. All the other ingredients in this recipe are also gluten free.
What's Best About This Glass Noodles Recipe
The chewy texture and sweet and savory sauce are so good.
The sweet potato glass noodles give this dish a chewy texture that makes you want to keep eating them. The noodles absorb the flavor from the sweet and savory sauce. Unlike pasta noodles, which are coated with sauce, these noodles absorb all the flavors and stay sauce-free. The sauce gets its flavoring from tamari (soy sauce), fermented chili paste, and sesame oil.
The noodle seasonings can be adjusted to your liking.
The added brown sugar in the sauce balances out the heat from the chili paste and chili flakes and tones down the tang from the fermented chili paste and rice vinegar (if you use it). I skipped adding rice vinegar to this recipe, but feel free to add it if you like. The quantity of each ingredient in the sauce can be easily modified to your liking and individual taste preference. If you prefer a stronger flavor, go for dark soy sauce and increase the quantity of fermented chili paste.
This Japchae recipe is vegan and gluten free.
It's perfect for those with dietary preferences or restrictions. Tofu provides the protein source for this recipe.
Made in an Instant Pot so it's quick and easy to prepare! I think it is actually easier to make it in an instant pot than the traditional cooking method for japchae.
- I have divided the cooking time into two parts to maintain the texture and crunch of the vegetables. If you are not too concerned with the vegetables' texture, add all the vegetables except the greens to the noodles.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, I use low-sodium tamari. If gluten-free is not required, use soy sauce instead of tamari.
- You can use dark soy sauce if you prefer more robust flavors.
- If you cannot find Korean chili fermented paste, substitute half of its quantity with miso paste and half with any chili paste such as sambal oelek.
- I use Korean chile flakes or Gochugaru in this recipe, but you can substitute them for regular chili flakes.
- Sesame seeds can be added to the sauce if you like these seeds.
- Instead of using fresh ginger while sautéing, minced ginger can be added to the sauce.
- You can add one tablespoon of rice vinegar to the sauce for extra tang.
- Since a few sauces are used, do not add salt unless you taste it first. If you add it initially, the dish will taste too salty.
- For the water to noodles ratio, add eight fluid oz. or 1 cup of water for every 4 oz of noodles. In this japchae recipe, I use 6 oz of noodles; hence, I add 1.5 cups or 12 oz of water.
Sweet potato glass noodles are made from the starch of a sweet potato. These noodles come in u-shaped, super-long bundles. They appear stiff and grayish in the dried, uncooked version. Once cooked, they become transparent glass-like see-through noodles and have a chewy and slippery texture.
This really depends on the recipe you use, its ingredients, and the cooking method. You can increase the nutritional value of japchae by increasing the number of vegetables, moderating the add-on sauces, and not using too much oil.
Preparing japchae in an instant pot makes it a quick and easy recipe. It is actually easier to make it in an instant pot than the traditional cooking method for japchae.
Sweet Potato Glass Noodles (Vegan Japchae)
- ¼ cup Low Sodium Tamari for Gluten Free Option use Soya Sauce
- 2 Tbs Sesame Seed Oil
- 1 teaspoon Korean Fermented Chili Paste Concentrate Gochujang: 1 tsp, if not available substitute with ½ teaspoon of miso paste + 1 teaspoon of sambal oelek
- ½ teaspoon Korean Chile Flakes Gochugaru: ½ tsp, if not available substitute it with red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoon Brown Sugar substitute with your choice of sweetener
- 1 tbs Rice Vinegar for extra tang, (I skipped it)
- 1 tablespoon Sesame seeds add in the sauce or keep it separate and sprinkle from top, either way is fine
- 1 oz Ginger Thumb size knob, finely julienned
- 10 oz Red onions 1 cup sliced, 1 medium or ½ large size onion
- 4 oz Cremini Mushrooms 1 cup sliced around 10 pieces
- 6 oz Baby Bok Choy 1 cup chopped - 2 small or 1 medium size, stalk and leaves separated
- 6 oz Carrots 1 cup thick julienned, 2 medium size or 1 large
- 4 oz Green Bell Pepper 1 cup thick julienned, 1 medium size
- 4 oz Red Bell Pepper 1 cup thick julienned, 1 medium size
- 6 oz Broccoli 1 cup, cut into even bite size florets
- 2 oz Baby Spinach 2 cups heaped, 2 handful
- 7 oz Tofu Extra Firm - 1 cup cubed
Prep work Instructions
- Sweet Potato starch noodles come in long U-shaped noodles. Cut them into small strands using a kitchen scissor to fit inside the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
- Chop all the colorful vegetables into finger size sticks and keep them aside. Once, all the veggies are prepped, this dish comes together quickly.
- Squeeze all the water from the tofu, cubed, and keep it aside.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, whisk them together, and keep them aside.
- Combine the sesame oil and chili flakes for topping and keep it aside.
- Switch on the Instant Pot on Sauté mode on regular heat. Add 2 tablespoon of avocado oil.
- When it starts displaying hot, add julienned ginger and sliced onions.
- Sauté onions for a few minutes until they become soft and translucent.
- Now add sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté for a few minutes.
- After 5 minutes, switch off the sauté mode, and add 1.5 cups of water and half the quantity of the prepared sauce.
- Transfer all the noodles into a crisscross pattern in the inner pot.
- Place the Instant Pot lid on and cook for 1 minute on low pressure. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Once, pressure is released, open the lid and add chopped bok choy stalks, carrots, peppers, broccoli, tofu, and the remaining sauce.
- Put the lid back and cook for 1 minute at low pressure. To avoid overcooking vegetables and losing their texture, quickly release the pressure once cooking time is over.
- Take the lid off and carefully fold the spinach and bok choy greens. Cover the pot back and allow the greens to wilt using steam.
- Remove the pan, transfer to a bowl, and top it with sesame seeds and sesame seeds and chili flakes oil.