Wednesday, August 21, 2019

[Food] Japchae (잡채, Stir fried sweet potato noodle with vegetables)


[Food] Japchae (잡채, Stir fried sweet potato noodle with vegetables)

Japchae (잡채, Stir fried sweet potato noodle with vegetables)

Japchae (잡채, Stir-fried sweet potato noodle with vegetables) is a popular traditional food in Korea. People often reserve it as a main dish for a party or side dish for a special day (e.g. when mom is happy).

Its recipe first appeared in a 17th century cook book written by a noble lady in a traditional family in Korea. Traditional japchae ingredients were radish, various mushrooms, cucumber, mung-bean sprout, spinach and chopped pheasant. These ingredients were stir-fried with a special sauce, which is a mixture of bean paste added with pheasant stock, ginger powder and black pepper.

A few years later, japchae was served by Choong Yi in the aristocrat's court celebration for King Gwanghae, which eventually promoted Choong Yi to Minister of Agriculture and Population. 

In the 20th century, a massive sweet potato factory was built in Pyeongyang and positively changed the recipe that makes today's japchae.

Sweet potato noodle is a popular ingredient in Korea for its smooth, elastic and chewy texture
Japchae cooked with baby spinach, oyster mushroom etc.
Today, Koreans cook japchae with sweet potato noodles, chopped beef or pork, spinach, carrot, mushrooms, onion, spring onion and soy sauce-based sweet and salty sauce. However, japchae is not an 'everyday' dish because you have to put lots of labor into it chopping every ingredient and marinating them with sauce. Nevertheless, japchae is still one of Koreans (and non-Koreans) favorite dishes. Koreans love it for its color, nutrition, texture of noodle and flavor.

Japchae that has more meat and veg than noodle

Japchae with lots of noodle

As I see pictures of japchae above, I miss my gandma's japchae :)

Bon Appétit!