Japchae or chapchae is the number one sought-after dish, particularly during the Korean festive holidays (e.g. New Year’s Day and Harvest festival) but it is also enjoyed on any other common day as well. Japchae translates as mixed vegetables. When it was first invented in the 17th century, japchae was a noodle-less dish. But nowadays, the main highlight of the dish is glass noodles made from sweet potatoes, along with colourful vegetables and well-seasoned meat.
- Cook the sweet potato noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold running water. Cut the noodles using a pair of scissors into about 6-inch (15cm) lengths. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch the spinach until they are wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the water and rinse the spinach under cold running water. Form the spinach into a ball and squeeze it to discard the remaining water. Cut the spinach ball into half.
- Heat up the oil in a skillet or wok and add the garlic, onion, mushroom, and carrot and cook for about two minutes. Add the scallion and stir-fry for another minute. Turn the heat to low and add the noodles and spinach into the skillet or wok, followed by the sesame oil, the sauce, and salt to taste. Stir to combine well. Dish out, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and serve at room temperature.
- The japchae noodles can be found at Asian supermarkets. They are usually labelled as sweet potato noodles.