Thursday, April 19, 2012

Banchan 반찬

I had promised the other day that I would post up recipes after my food expedition to Korean BBQ. And true to my word, here is the post.

After looking through my previous posts and the food that I ate that night, I have to say that there is not really much that I can post on because it was a BBQ and I have already posted up recipes for the meats. I have also already posted up recipes for pancakes (jeon). Here are the links for pancakes (pajeon and gamja-jeon) and bulgogi.

However I have discovered that I am still yet to make a post about the different side dishes that come with Korean food. Today, that I what I will be posting about. I will be posting up the recipes of a few of the most popular banchans 반찬 (side dish).

The first banchan for today is Soy Potatoes or Potato Jorim (감자 조림). This is an easy and delicious non-spicy Korean side dish using potatoes. The flavor of soy sauce mixed with a little sweetness and the texture of potatoes gives you a great taste.

3 Medium Sized Potatoes (2 Cups)
½ Cup Water
2 Tbsp Oil
2½ Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Corn Syrup
1-1½ Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
⅛ tsp Fine Sea Salt
½ tsp Sesame Seeds

1. Cut 3 medium sized potatoes (2 cups) into ½-inch cubes.
2. In a heated pan, with 2 Tbsp of oil, add the chopped potatoes.
3. Fry the potatoes for 5 minutes on medium-high until they are about ⅓ cooked.
4. After 5 minutes, add ½ cup of water, 2½ Tbsp of soy sauce, 2 Tbsp of corn syrup, 1-1½ Tbsp of sugar, and 1 Tbsp of minced garlic.
5. Cook it for 5 more minutes on medium-high.
6. Taste it and if you need to, add up to ⅛ tsp of fine sea salt depending on your tastes.
7. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a paste, which should take about 5 minutes.
8. Reduce the temperature to medium and fry 5 to 7 more minutes until the potatoes are completely cooked. Then add ½ tsp of sesame seeds.

The second banchan that I am introducing to you today is sigeumchi namul (시금치나물) or spinach side dish. This consists of boiled spinach which has been seasoned and is served with rice, jiigae and is perfect to complement the meat when you have a BBQ.

3 Handfuls Fresh Spinach (1 Cup Boiled Spinach)
7 Cups Water (1 Tsp Salt)
⅛ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Sesame Oil
⅔ to 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
Some Sesame Seeds (Garnish)

1. Add 1 tsp of sea salt in 7 cups of water and boil on high.
2. In the boiling water, add the spinach and cook for 30 seconds on high.
3. For the best results, the spinach should be cooked for a short time at a high temperature.
4. After 30 seconds, quickly drain the hot water and rinse the spinach in cold water several times.
5. Squeeze out the water.
6. Mix together the boiled spinach, ⅛ of salt, 1 tsp of sesame oil, and 1 tsp of minced garlic.
7. To serve, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

The last banchan that I am going to post about today is kongnamul (콩나물) or a beansprout side dish. Similar to the spinach side dish, the bean sprouts are boiled down and then seasoned and served at meals.

The exact origins of kongnamul is unknown, but it is assumed that it has been eaten since the Three Kingdom Period or early Goryeo era. Records of kongnamul can be found in the document from the Goryeo era, Hyangyak Gugeupbang (hangul: 향약구급방, hanja: 鄕藥救急方) where cultivation of the sprouts are mentioned; when Taejo of Goryeo was founding the country, the soldiers were saved from starving by growing bean sprouts in nearby streams.

In the Joseon era document Sallim gyeongje (hangul: 산림경제, hanja: 山林經濟), cooking methods are mentioned, and in another Joseon era document Seonghosaseol (hangul: 성호사설, hanja: 星湖僿說) it is said that the poor used kongnamul to make juk. Kongnamul is again mentioned in Cheongjanggwanjeonseo (hangul: 청장관전서, hanja: 靑莊館全書) as the main food consumed during famine.

package of soybean sprouts (500 grams)
soy sauce
hot pepper flakes (optional)
sesame oil
sesame seeds
green onions

1. Rinse and drain a package of soybean sprouts a few times over.
2. Put the soybean sprouts into a pot.
3. Add 2 ts of salt and 1 cup of water. Close the lid.
4. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 15 minutes.
5. Drain the cooked soybean sprouts and let them cool down.
6. Put the soybean sprouts in a large bowl with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 chopped green onions,1 tbs of soy sauce, 1 ts of salt, ½ ts of sugar, 1 tbs of sesame oil, and ½ to 1 ts of hot pepper flakes.
7. Mix it by hand.
8. Transfer it onto a plate and sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds over top.
NOTE: if you want a non-spicy version you can skip the chill flakes

That is it from me today. I have not introduced you to some of the popular Korean side dishes that come with meals. I think you may have noticed that there is one side dish in particular that I have not posted about. That is kimchi, but I hope you understand that there is a very long process involved with that recipe, and I just don't have the time to experiment with that recipe either. One day, maybe later this year I will be able to finally post the recipe for kimchi.

But for now enjoy kongnamul, kamja jorim and sigeumchi namul. And until next time stay healthy, safe and happy.

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