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a close up shot of the plate baby-friendly japchae on a white plate

Kid-friendly Japchae

Here’s a baby and toddler friendly twist on a classic Korean dish, japchae!  Made with colorful vegetables, meat, and gluten free sweet potato starch noodles, this low-sodium version is sure to be a hit with the entire family!
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Korean
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Beef marinating time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 136.46kcal


  • 4 ounces lean beef, marinated in bulgogi sauce
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil for stir frying
  • 6 ounces Korean sweet potato starch noodles


  • 1.5 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey (no honey for babies younger than 1 year old)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds


  • Marinate beef - 30 minutes for ground beef, at least 3 hours for thinly sliced beef
  • Cut the veggies as thinly as possible to make it easy and safe for young children. I love to use a mandolin for this as it cuts down the prep time significantly!
  • In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  • Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to a non-stick pan. Swirl to coat. Cook the onion over medium heat until it softens, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the pan and cook the carrots over medium high heat for about 1-2 minutes. If cooking for baby, add a tablespoon or so of water and continue cooking until they get nice and soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the same bowl with the onion.
  • Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the pan and cook the bell peppers over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, until softened. Depending on how thinly sliced they were, you may or may not have to add water as suggested with carrots. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
  • To the pan, add the marinated meat (no oil necessary) and cook over medium heat until it's no longer pick, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the mixing bowl. Keep the beef juice in the pan!
  • Cook the noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and cook for 6-8 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Cut the noodles with kitchen scissors into short strands.
  • Reheat the meat juice in the pan. Add the noodles to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until translucent and sticky, 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer to the large mixing bowl with all the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything together with hand. Set aside a portion for the baby. To the rest, add the sauce. Adjust seasoning to your taste. You can always add more soy sauce and sesame oil.


Be sure to read all the tips listed in this post before cooking! For a cooking demo, head on over to my instagram - kidfriendly.meals and click on "Asian Food" in story highlights. 
I'm including the most important ones here:
  • A simple tip on how to make vegetables super soft if making this to enjoy with your baby (don't need to do this for toddlers or older children): when cooking them in a pan, add a small splash of water and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Leftovers. Once you put the noodles in the fridge, the starch in the noodles will harden. Reheat in the microwave for a couple of minutes (mixing in between) .


Calories: 136.46kcal | Protein: 3.6g | Sodium: 115.61mg | Fiber: 1.09g | Sugar: 2.33g