Korean dishes are a delight for the soul and the stomach, both. The right mix of spicy, sweet and savoury makes the cuisine of Korea a global favourite. And, many of these dishes are easy to make! Here are some of the tastiest Korean recipes that you can fix at home. By Manas Sen Gupta
This side dish has been a staple in Korean homes for centuries and is so popular that there is a national festival around it—Seoul Kimchi Festival. There are many types of kimchis: there’s Chonggak kimchi, which is made from ponytail radish; the Nabak kimchi, which is also known as mul (water) kimchi because of its soup-like appearance; and the Bossam kimchi, which is famously known as the wrapped kimchi. But the one that is immediately understood when you say “kimchi” is the Tongbaechu kimchi, also known as Baechu kimchi or napa cabbage kimchi. This is the traditional one and is easy to prepare. All you need is napa cabbage, radish, carrots, green onions and Korean red pepper flakes, besides seasoning and paste ingredients.
Bulgogi literally means ‘fire meat’, and, like kimchi, it has several types. If pork is used, it is called dwaeji bulgogi. If it is made with chicken, it is called dak bulgogi. The one made with beef, like the one in the video, is called mak bulgogi. In all cases, the meat is marinated in a mix of oil, sauces and other ingredients before it is grilled or stir-fried in a pan.
Considered by many as one of the most delicious Korean dishes, bibimbap is made with rice as the base and topped with sautéed vegetables, sauces, and meat or egg. Kimchi can also be added to the dish. Bibimbap is usually served in a bowl. Dolsot bibimbap is a variation that is cooked and served in a hot stone pot.
From exclusive restaurants to snack bars, this comfort food can be enjoyed in many different places across South Korea. It is a traditional dish made of rice cakes that’s usually smeared in a spicy sauce. Like other famous Korean dishes, tteokbokki also has numerous variants. There is a tteokbokki variation that contains seafood, one that is made with cream sauce, and another that comes in curry form. This dish can be paired with scallions, fish cakes and boiled eggs.
Japchae is prepared with Korean glass noodles—that are made from sweet potato starch—and paired with an assortment of vegetables and seasoned meat, along with a sauce. Did you know that noodles were not a part of the dish when it was invented in the 17th Century? They were added a few centuries later, and have now become one of the main ingredients. The perfect japchae has a balanced savoury and sweet flavour.
This traditional Korean dessert is also famous in other Asian countries, including Thailand. Bingsu is made of shaved ice available in different flavours—ranging from milk, strawberry, chocolate and green tea. It can be topped with fruit jams, fresh fruits and flakes among other things. When served with injeolmi (Korean rice cake) and red beans, it is called patbingsu.
Though ice shaving machines are used at professional eateries, you can make this sweet delight without one. The video shows you how.
Mulhoe is made from fresh seafood dipped in freezing red pepper broth and is particularly enjoyed in summers. One of its most famous variants is Jeju island’s hanchi mulhoe, which has the local hanchi mitra squid in it. Rice or noodles feature in the Pohan variant.
Also known as ginseng chicken soup, samgye-tang is known to be good for health. As the name suggests, it contains chicken stuffed with ginseng, garlic, ginger, jujube and rice. It is most popular during Korea’s hot summer days.
Gamjatang is a pork bone soup. Many South Koreans love this dish, especially to get rid of hangovers in the morning. Besides pork, the stew contains potatoes, perilla seed, some glass noodles and rice cakes among other ingredients.
This dish is a tasty Chinese import that got a makeover in Korea. The noodles are thick, and its black bean sauce contains diced pork, vegetables, and a salty black soybean paste known as chunjang. It doesn’t take much time to prepare—just seven minutes!
11. Doenjang jjigae
This iconic stew is hailed as one of the most famous Korean dishes. Its ingredients are as simple as its preparation. Doenjang, or soybean paste, is the primary ingredient. Just throw in tofu, zucchini, mushrooms and beef, and cook.
If pork gives you the feels, this Korean dish is just the thing for you. Boiled pork is wrapped in lettuce or cabbage leaves along with any of the several side dishes including kimchi, shrimp and oyster. Pork shoulder is commonly used, but pork belly is also an option.
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