To put it simply, Korean food is having its moment. Super delicious and incredibly healthy, it may seem like Korean cuisine burst into the “mainstream” food scene out of nowhere, but in reality, has a rich history of thousands of years.
At first, cooking Korean food at home may seem a little intimidating because of the various components of a meal and the amount of time required to prepare them. But not all Korean dishes need hours of prep time, and a satisfying meal doesn’t need to have 8-10 side dishes to be a complete one. A wide variety of Korean dishes are not difficult to make, and these can be made easily with basic ingredients available at any major supermarket or grocery store chain.
Essential ingredients to building a Korean pantry are these:
- Soy Sauce – Ganjang
- Korean Chilli Pepper Paste – Gochujang
- Korean Chilli Pepper Powder – Gochugaru
- Korean Soybean Paste – Doenjang
- Korean Black Bean Paste – Chunjang
- Korean Fish Sauce – Aecjeot
- Ground Black Pepper – Huchu
- Salt – Sogum
- Sesame seed oil – Chamgireum
- Ginger – Manul
- Garlic – Saenggang
- Green Onions (Scallions) – Pa
- Dried Seaweed Sheets – Gim
- Rice – Bap or Ssal (Varieties used – Short-grain white rice, Short-grain brown rice, Half-milled brown rice)
- Noodles – Guksu or Myeon (Varieties used – Buckwheat noodles, Sweet Potato noodles, Wheat flour noodles)
- Dried Anchovies – Myulchi
- Roasted Sesame Seeds – Bokken Chamggae
- Rice Wine – Chungju, Mirin
- Tofu (Varieties used – Firm, soft, silken )
Easy recipes for first-timers
The table doesn’t necessarily have to be covered with food, just a main dish and a couple of side dishes is still impressive to anyone who’s in love with the Korean cuisine. Here are some easy and delicious recipes even first-timers manage!
Pajeon is a Korean pancake that is super easy to make, can work as a side dish, appetizer, or as a snack. You can tweak it to your own liking and add as many vegetables as you like and change the batter to veggies ratio too.
A super-easy way of putting to use some aged kimchi, Kimchi jjigae is a staple in several Korean households. You can whip your own version by using different sorts of meat or even make your vegetarian or vegan version. One of those foods that offer irresistible comfort, making a batch of Kimchi Jjigae may be just what a winter night may call for.
Another winter favourite, this recipe has no searing, no sauteing, and melts in your mouth. All the classic flavours of Korea, including gochujang, are used in this rich and flavourful recipe.
Tong Dak is one of those dishes you can eat at literally any time. Impossible to eat just one, these chicken wings are juicy, tender, spicy, and sweet. If you want to be a master of spice, go on and add some extra gochujang.
Kimchi Bokumbap is like one of those foods from your childhood, warm, rich, and comforting. Very easy to tweak as per your taste, Kimchi Bokumbap is a great way of using leftover rice, veggies, and even kimchi and creating something brilliant with it.