Stir-fried Glass Noodles and Vegetables Japchae Korea Food closeup on the plate on the table. Vertical top view from above
Food - Drink
Japchae: The Stir-Fry Noodle Dish That's A Korean Favorite
Japchae, a Korean noodle stir fry, is commonly prepared for holidays and special gatherings, but has also been enjoyed by citizens on an everyday basis for centuries. Japchae means "mixed vegetables," of which there are plenty in the dish, but the heart of the recipe is springy, soft, and slightly sweet glass noodles.
Japchae was first made in the 17th century for King Kwanghaekun during the Joseon Dynasty, but noodles wouldn't be added until 1919, after a glass noodle factory opened in northern Korea. This dish makes a great intro to Korean food and can be served hot, cold, or warm if you reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Common ingredients in japchae include carrots, spinach, mushrooms, onions, scallions, chili peppers, bell peppers, garlic chives, and cucumbers. Beef, pork, or seafood seasoned with spicy gochugaru may be present, but there are meatless variations like soybean sprout japchae, made with soybean sprouts and sweet potato noodles.
When making this dish, the clear and stretchy glass noodles should be cooked until soft and springy, drained, rinsed with cold water, mixed with sauce, then pan-fried. Vegetables should be cut evenly and cooked separately from the noodles, preferably one at a time, since different veggies require different cooking times.