Here's a little history. History is always pretty interesting....
Japchae was first made in the early 17th century, when the Joseon Dynasty was reigning in the Korean peninsula. When King Gwanghaegun hosted a big party at his palace, one of his lieges, Yi Chung, created this dish to please the king’s palate. The king liked this dish so much that he rewarded his liege by promoting him to the position of hojo panseo (hangul: 호조판서, hanja: 戶曹判書, equivalent to the Secretary of the Treasury). At the time, japchae was made with vegetables and mushrooms, such as sliced cucumber, shredded mu, and pyogo (shiitake) mushroom. Since the early 20th century, dangmyeon (cellophane noodles made from sweet potato starch) has become an integral and primary ingredient of this variety of japchae.
- 1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles - found at any Asian market.
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
- 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks scallions, cut into 1″ lengths
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced - I used Wood Ear.
- 1/2 lb spinach - I used pre-bagged to be simple.
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Eat like a king.
- 1 package of firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 - 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Drain and cut tofu into bite sized cubes.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside - except the oil. Taste it.. add more sugar if you want it sweeter.
- Heat the oil in a skillet until hot, but not smoking.
- Add the tofu, turning gently until its coated with the oil. Shake the pan from time to time so nothing sticks. Fry the tofu until it turns yellow, but not crispy and brown.
- Add the sauce and stir gently to blend.
- Cover the skillet and turn the heat down. Let it set for about 5 minutes or so. You can add a spoon or two of water if the sauce dries up.
- Add to your Jap Chae when ready to serve.