You can always find Japchae in any Korean restaurant menu. It is one of the popular Korean side dishes. The chewy glass noodle with crunchy vegetables is a Korean favourite for special occasions and traditional holidays.
This delicious and healthy dish has a mild taste. The usage of various vegetables makes it a colourful dish. So, it is very suitable for young children to encourage them to eat vegetables.
What is Japchae?
Japchae is a Korean word that consists of two syllables. ‘Jap’ translates to mix while ‘chae’ means vegetables. Thus, when it combined Japchae means mixed vegetables.
This sweet and savoury dish consists of stir-fried glass noodles with various vegetables seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. The glass noodle, known as dangmyeon, is made from sweet potato starch and has a transparent appearance. The noodle has a chewy, springy, and elastic texture.
Though many kinds of vegetables mix well in this dish, the more common greens used are carrots, cucumbers, spinach, onions, mushroom, and scallions. These vegetables are usually cut into thin strips or julienne to ensure that they mix well with the noodles.
Each ingredient is stir-fried separately to preserve the taste and texture. Then, they are mixed and seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. It is garnished with toasted sesame seeds. Japchae is a savoury and colourful side dish that can be served hot or cold.
You can easily find this dish on special occasions such as weddings, birthday, and holiday. It has become a popular dish for banquets and parties as they are fairly easy to make and can be eaten at any temperature. You can even try making your own by following the recipe here.
Japchae was created in the early 17th century during the Joseon Dynasty. The original dish did not contain any noodles. It is purely mixed vegetables. It was specially made for the king’s banquet. Thus, it was considered as a luxurious dish for the royal family and high-level officials. Eventually, it spread to the common people.
China introduced the glass noodles to Korea in the 20th century. This gives rise to the dish’s popularity, and since then, glass noodles have become an essential ingredient of japchae. Currently, there are many versions of Japchae available. Meats like beef and chicken are a popular choice to add to this noodle dish. Other versions also include seafood and various herbs.
Since the introduction of glass noodles and meats gives rise to the popularity of Japchae. People start to experiment with the dish to adapt to their local preferences.
The most common Japchaes are ones with beef or chicken. However, some places offer seafood Japchae that consists of squid and shrimp. People who prefer spicy foods add gochugaru (Korean red chilli pepper flakes) into the dish for that added spice.
Where to find Japchae in Malaysia
You can find Japchae in any Korean restaurants as a popular side dish to eat with a hot bowl of rice. You can order Japchae from Hansang Korean Restaurant (Kuala Lumpur). Besides that, you can choose either you want your Japchae with chicken, seafood or beef from Seoul Garden HotPot (Kuala Lumpur).
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