Japchae is a delicious Korean dish made from noodles called dangmyeon (Korean: 당면), which are cellophane noodles made from sweet potato starch. These are then stir fried in sesame oil with vegetables (typically thinly sliced carrots, onion, spinach, and mushrooms), served with beef, and flavored with soy sauce and other seasonings. Japchae is simple, easy-to-make and wonderful for dinner with a Korean twist!
The sweet potato noodles are transparent, basically tasteless and also happen to be totally gluten-free. You can buy them from your local Korean/Asian grocer or from Amazon here.
This dish is served at Korean parties and special occasions, with seasonal vegetables added. It is usually served garnished with sesame seeds and slivers of chili and may be served hot or cold.
The origin of this dish is quite fascinating. Japchae was first made in the early 17th century, when the Joseon Dynasty reigned supreme over the Korean peninsula.
When King Gwanghaegun hosted a party at his palace, one of his lieges, Yi Chung, created this dish to please the king’s palate. The king liked it so much that he rewarded his liege by promoting him to the position of “hojo panseo”, equivalent to the Secretary of the Treasury for the whole kingdom!
Quite a dish indeed. ☺
My version is totally authentic and includes a bit of Korean black garlic to add additional umami flavor. Black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic developed in Korea – it is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is garlicky, sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar and is one of the best flavors I know of. You can get it from Amazon here.
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