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Korean Food StoriesKorean Food Stories

Staple Foods

There are three types of Korean food: staples, side dishes, and dessert. There are also various sauces, which have unique scents. Let us explore them in detail.

Korean food can be divided into three categories:Staples, side dishes, and desserts.

There is bap (cooked rice), juk (porridge), guksu (noodles) and various other food staples. The side dishes include guk (soup) jjigae (stew), jeongol (hotpots), bokkeum (stir-fried dishes), jjim and jeon (pan-fried delicacies), saengchae (raw vegetables), namul (herbs), jorim (food boiled in seasonings), cho (vinegar), junyueo (fried fish), gui and jeok (grilled seasoned meat on a stick), hwe (raw food dishes), ssam (food wrapped in lettuce, cabbage, sesame, or other greens), pyunyuk (slices of boiled meat), jokpyeon (cow’s hoof jelly), twigak (fried kelp), boogak (another type of fried kelp), po (fish or meat sliced thin), jangajji (vegetables pickled in soy sauce), kimchi, and jutgal (salted fish). The desserts include tteok (rice cake), gwaja (cookies), saengwa (fresh fruit), cha (tea), and other beverages, also called eumcheong-ryu.

Bap

The staple food is white rice, or bap. There is also a mixed-grain bap that includes barley, sorghum, beans, adzuki beans and other grains with rice. Bap is made by boiling grains and fruits with rice, which absorb the water, and letting it rest for a sufficient amount of time. You can also create different kinds of bap for special dishes by mixing it with vegetables, seafood, or meat. Bibimbap is a dish where different kinds of herbs and meat are placed on top of bap.

Bap
Juk, Mieum (Thin Rice Gruel) and Ongyi (Another Type of Thin Rice Gruel)

Juk, mieum, and ongyi are portable foods made from grains. Juk is made by placing or grinding the grains into boiling water and letting it rest. Mieum is different from juk, as the grain is put in a sieve to boil and is filtered. For ongyi, the grain is boiled in water and becomes thin enough to drink.

You can also boil different vegetables, meat, and fish with grains when making juk. The different types of juk include jat juk (pine nut porridge), ggae juk (a gruel made of powdered sesame), hodu juk (walnut porridge), nokdu juk (mung bean gruel), and kong juk (a mixed gruel of rice and beans), which are all made by boiling grains. Juks that use vegetables include nulgeunhobak juk (pumpkin porridge), aehobak juk (green pumpkin porridge), shiitake juk (mushroom porridge), and awook juk (curled mallow porridge). For juks made of seafood, there are: jeonbok juk (abalone porridge) uh juk (fish porridge), jogae juk (clam porridge), peemoonuh juk (octopus porridge), among others. There are also juks made with meat, which include janggeuk juk (clear soup porridge), swegogi juk (beef porridge), dakgogi juk (chicken porridge) and others.

Juk, Mieum (Thin Rice Gruel) and Ongyi (Another Type of Thin Rice Gruel)
Mandu (Dumplings), Tteokguk (Rice Cake Soup)

There are a variety of mandu skins depending on the ingredients and fillings. The skins are usually made with flattened dough, but some are made with flattened buckwheat flour dough, called memil mandu (buckwheat flour dumplings). During ancient times in the royal palace, mandu was formed into a half-moon shape, called byungsi, or a sea cucumber shape, called gyuasang.

These two methods are different from the one commonly used, which is to close the skin around the shape of the fillings. Mandu is filled with pumpkin, bean sprouts, beef, and other ingredients. They are then covered with a rectangular piece of dough. In Pyeongan-do, a region in northern North Korea, people used to make fillings with cabbage kimchi, pork, and tofu. They also formed the mandu in big circular shapes and wrapped the skins in accordance with the fillings inside before boiling the mandu in meat broth.

During Lunar New Year’s Day, families pay their respects to ancestors by conducting rites that include serving tteokguk to their ancestors, which the family eats as well. This tradition has been passed down in Korea. Tteokguk is made by boiling bar-shaped rice cakes, made of non-glutinous rice, in meat broth. The rice cakes are cut thin and shaped into ovals. In the north, people enjoy mandu on Lunar New Year’s Day, and in the south, people enjoy eating tteokguk.

Mandu (Dumplings), Tteokguk (Rice Cake Soup)
Guksu

Guksu was not made for breakfast or supper, but rather was served to guests on special occasions. Guksu is a simple dish that can be enjoyed for lunch. There are different types of guksu, depending on the grain or starch used to make it. These include mil guksu (wheat flour noodles), memil guksu (buckwheat noodles), nokmal guksu (starch noodles), gangryang guksu (corn noodles), chilgk guksu (arrowroot noodles), and many other types.

There are also different types of broth for guksu, and you can eat it in either hot or cold broth. Guksu in a hot soup makes the noodles warm, while you can enjoy meat broth. For cold broth there is naengmyeon (cold noodles) with dongchimi (water-based radish kimchi), and bibim guksu. One example of a warm noodle soup is guksujang guk (clear soup noodles) which in the past included pheasant, but now more commonly uses beef brisket or beef leg bones. Kalguksu, made with boiled chicken, is another example of a warm guksu soup. Naengmyeon is made by mixing dough or starch with buckwheat powder and pulling it through a noodle-maker. Kalguksu is made by slicing dough or buckwheat powder. In the summer, you can also enjoy kong guksu (bean noodles), a mixture of wheat flour noodles with bean soup.

Guksu
TAG : Korean Food Stories, Types of Korean Food, Staple Foods
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