The Eumsik dimibang (음식디미방) is a recipe book written around 1670 by Jang Gye-hyang (장계향) a Korean noblewoman from Andong Clan, Gyeongsang Province, who lived during the Joseon era. It is said to be the earliest known recipe book written in Hangul as previous to this, books would’ve been written in Chinese Wenzi (文字), or Chinese characters. The book contains the original recipes for many Korean dishes that are still eaten and loved today such as Dumplings (만두) , Rice Cake (떡), Egg Soup (계란탕) and Japchae (잡채).
Japchae is a Sino-Korean word based on the Hanja characters Jap (잡; 雜) meaning mix and Chae (채; 菜) meaning vegetable. Japchae today consists of glass noodles and mixed vegetables fried together in soy sauce and sesame oil. However, the original recipe recorded in the Eumsik dimibang differs from the modern version. The original recipe didn’t contain any noodles, simply mixed vegetables and a small amount of meat. Japchae nowadays can be found in almost any Korean household and is a favourite for celebrations and parties as it is easy to prepare in bulk.
Japchae is a healthy and filling dish and also really easy to make yourself at home. It can be eaten as a side dish or on it’s own, and can be adapted easily to how you like it.
Follow this recipe to make modern day Japchae easily at home.
- 8 oz sweet potato noodles
- 4 oz spinach
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 small onion thinly sliced
- 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in warm water, de-stemmed and sliced
- 1 small carrot cut into thin strips
- 1 spring onion cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 heaped teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
For the Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1. 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 water. Place these to the side.
2. Blanch the spinach in boiling water until they are wilted, for about 1 minute. Drain the water and rinse the spinach under cold water. Form the spinach into a ball and squeeze it to discard the remaining water. Slice the spinach ball into smaller pieces.
3. Mix the soy sauce and the sugar together in a small bowl to form the sauce.
4. Heat up the oil in a wok and add the garlic, onion, mushroom, and carrot and cook for about two minutes. Add the spring onion and stir-fry for another minute. Turn the heat to low and add the noodles and spinach into the wok, follow by the sesame oil, add in the sauce, and salt to taste. Stir to combine well.
5. Add everything to a bowl and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds to serve.
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Featured Image Source: ©장계향, 27.01.2019, kyunghyang.com