Introducing the Side Dishes of Korean Food
There are Bap (cooked rice), juk (porridge), guksu (noodles) and various other staple food. There are guk (soup) jjigae (stews), jeongol (hot pots), bokkeum (stir-fried dishes), jjim, jeon (pan-fried delicacies), saengchae (raw vegetables), namul (herbs), jorim (food boiled in seasonings), cho (vinegar), junyueo (fried fish), gui, jeok (grilled seasoned meat on a stick), hoe (raw dishes), ssam(food wrapped in lettuce, cabbage, sesame, or other greens), pyunyuk (slices of boiled meat), jokpyeon (cow’s foot jelly), twigak (frield kelp), bugak (another type of fried kelp), po (fish or meat sliced thin), jangajji (vegetables pickled in soy sauce), kimchi, jeotgal (salted fish) and more side dishes.
The desserts are divided into tteok (rice cake), hangwa (korean sweets), saengwa (fresh fruit), cha (tea), and other beverages are also called eumcheong-ryu.
- Guk, Tang
- Jjim, Seon
- Jorim, Cho
- Gui, Jeok
- Hwe, Ssam
The staple food in Korea is bap, as a result guk appears on the table almost every time. It is one of the most basic side dishes. These include Malgeunjang guk (clear meat soup), Tojang guk (bean paste soup), Gom guk (thick beef soup) and Naeng guk (cold soup). Guk can be made by using meat, fish, vegetables, seafood and almost any ingredient possible. The brisket of beef, shin (foreshank), rump, and other lean meat parts are used a lot to make guk. Also bone parts such as: ribs, tail, beef and leg bones are used also. Sheep, intestines, and seonji (clotted blood from slaughtered cows and pigs) can be used as well.
Salt and glycine max can be seasoned to suit one’s taste for Malgeunjang guk. Doenjang and gochujang can be used to season Tojang guk. Salt and glycine max can also be used for tang that take a long time to brew, such as: Gom guk. In the hot summer, cucumbers, seaweed, kelp vegetable gelatine and other ingredients can make cold soups.
The ratio between soup and geonji (solid ingredients of soup) is much more similar in jjigae than that of guk. That is why jjigae has a much stronger taste. Jjigae can be divided differently by the ingredients that are used to make it. Some examples of jjigae include: Doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew), Gochujang jjigae (red pepper paste stew) and Malgeun jjigae (clean stew). jjimi (a type of stew), jochi (a type of stew) and gamjeong (a type of stew) are all similar to jjigae. In the palace of the Joseon Dynasty, jjigae was called jochi and Gochujang jjigae was called gamjeong.
Doenjang jjigae is much more delicious if it is boiled in used water from washing rice, rather than just plain water. The taste of jjigae also change by the taste of doenjang being used. Jjigae is a traditional cuisine which is enjoyed by many Koreans. Tofu, green chili, pumpkin, beef, anchovy and other ingredients are used as geonji. Tofu and different vegetables are used as geonjis for Gochujang jjigae. Sometimes fishes can be used as the main ingredient and it can also be made very spicy with a lot of vegetables. This spicy Gochujang jjigae is called Maeeun tang (hot fish stew) or Maeeuntang jjigae. Malgeun jjigae can be seasoned with salt or salted shrimp and tofu, pumpkin, radish, clam and other ingredients can be boiled to make it tasty. This sort of recipe is enjoyed by people in the central part of Korea.
Jeongol is served with pre-seasoned meat and vegetables on a plate. The plate is then placed on a special casserole pan that is brazed. You must mix and boil the food as it is being heated up. If you are served with a plate where the pre-seasoned meat and vegetables are already boiled and mixed for you, this is called a bbokeum. The saucepan for the jeongol look like an upside down soldier’s felt hat, which has a jeongol pan made up of iron. It has a low heel and a traditional jeongol saucepan would be made up of leveled stones.
Soup is suppose to gather in the middle of the jeongol pan. As a result, the middle part is sunken. On the outer rims of the pan, there is a wide pocket, which can be used to mix and stir different kinds of ingredients. Jjim, Seon (Cuisine made of pumpkins, cucumbers, egg plants and Chinese cabbage)
There are two ways to make jjim. The first method is by boiling the different meat, fish, and vegetables with the soup. The second method is boiling with the steam. A boiled jjim takes some time to make because it needs to make the beef ribs, beef tail, shin (foreshank), pork ribs and other main ingredients tender with light fire. A steamed jjim is made with fish, shrimps, clams and other seafoods. Seon is made by vegetables, fish, tofu and other ingredients, which are boiled or steamed to jjim.
Pumpkin, cucumber, eggplant, cabbage, and other plant products, which are supplementary to beef and other vegetables, must be put in the soup to boil or steam for a short period of time. Uh seon (A type of seon with the addition of fish) is made by slicing the white flesh of fishes and wrapping them around slices of beef, and then they are steamed. Tofu seon (A type of seon with the addition of tofu) is made by mixing chicken, beef and other meat with grinded tofu. Then you put the mixture in a flattened dumpling and put it in a steamer.
Fresh vegetables, also known as saengchae in Korean, that come out every season are not cooked or boiled but are mixed with chojang (soy sauce with vinegar), chogochujang (red chili-pepper paste with vinegar), and Gyuja jang (mustard sauce). These are the most basic side dishes. Sugar and vinegar is used as seasoning to make the vegetables more sweet and tasty. White radish, cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, water parsley, deodok (mountain herbs), wild edible greens, and other raw edible vegetables are mixed with seafoods such as: jellyfish, seaweed, green laver, and others, to make saengchae. Also, squid, clams, shrimps are blanched and seasoned. Horseradish or chilled vegetables are also a part of saengchae
Namul is a very common side dish that used to be referred to as both saengchae and sookchae (boiled herbs and vegetables). However, nowadays, it only refers to sookchae. The ingredients of namul can be almost any kind of vegetable. Green leaf vegetables can be boiled in boiling water and various seasonings can be added. Gosari (braken), gobi (a type of plant), and doraji (balloon flower) can be stirred in after boiling and seasoning. Dried reeds, pepper leaves, and dried radish greens can be stirred after being macerated and boiled.
In order for the namul to be smooth and tasty, it must be seasoned with plenty of sesame oil and ground sesame mixed with salt. Fresh mountain herbs can be applied with chogochujang, in order to make it have a sour tasty. There are also Chungpo muk (green-lentil jello), Memil muk (buckwheat jello) and Dotori muk (acorn jello), which are the coagulation of cooked stale starches. Stale vegetables, beef and other ingredients are seasoned with soy sauce, and the Chungpomuk muchim (mung bean jelly mixed with vegetables and beef) is called Tangpyeong chae. Japchae, Tangpyeong chae, and Jooksoon chae (sauteed vegetables in a bamboo shoot) are all part of sookchae.
Jorim makes the taste of meat, to fish, and vegetables a little bit strong. It is also served on tables with full meals. Beef jangjorim (beef boiled down in soy sauce) can be put on the table for a long time and could be made to have a strong taste. The tasty white flesh of fishes can be cooked with soy sauce, while the red flesh of fishes and the fishes that give off fishy smell can be made by adding red-chili pepper powder or gochujang. Cho has the meaning of boiling, however in Korean Food, the meaning has changed into releasing starch after the ingredient is boiled. After the starch is disseminated, the noodles will become congealed and the seasoning must be sweet and not strong. The commonly used ingredients of cho are mussel and abalone.
The prefix ‘jun’ has the meaning of boiling with oil. Junnuuh were called by several names such as: yua, junnya, junya, jun and other names, but in the palace, it was called junnuhwa. Gannam, gannab and gallab were all used to refer to the junnuuh that was used during ancestral rites. The ingredients of junnuuh can range from meat, fish, and vegetables. The ingredients must be made into a size that is good for boiling and salt and pepper powder must be used to season. Next, dough and an egg must be added to the ingredients. Boil it in a frying pan afterwards. There must not only be one junnuuh but three different kinds served on one plate. Instead of eggs, buckwheat powder or dough juice can be used as ingredients.
Gui is one of the first dishes to be made by humankind, using fire. Boiled foods were created after plates were invented, however, Gui does not require any special equipment to make. It only needs to be heated up. It is recorded that our ancestors, in ancient times, were very skilled in making good meat gui.
Bulgogi (sliced and seasoned barbecue beef) is a relatively new word. Before, bulgogi was either a very thin roasted beef called 「Nubiahni」, and Sogeum gui (Fish broiled with salt) was called 「Bangja Gui」. Jeok is grilled season meat, vegetables, mushrooms, and other ingredients, on a stick.
When an ingredient is raw and roasted on a stick, it is called San jeok. There is also another type of jeok called Nureum jeok. There are two types of Nureum Jeok. The first type is when an ingredient is seasoned and roasted, before it is placed on a stick. Another type is when the ingredients are skewered on a stick and they are roasted with seasoning on them. This is the same method as making jeon.
Hwe is a type of food where meat and fish is eaten raw or with seasoning such as: choganjang (soy sauce mixed with vinegar), chogochujang, mustard juice, salt oil, and other seasonings. Raw meat can be made with the soft meat of beef, liver, manyplies, sheep and other meats. Croakers, halibuts, pomfrets and other fresh fishes are used as ingredients of hwe. Oysters and sea cucumbers are also ingredients. Squids, octopuses, small octopuses, shrimps and other seafoods are used to make Uh chae, which is a type of Sook hwe (raw white flesh fish slightly boiled in hot water).
Vegetables of Sook hwe can be made with water parsley, small green onion, edible shoots of fatsia, and other vegetables. Weed, lettuce, cabbage leaf, reed, pumpkin leaf, sesame leaf, seaweed and other vegetables can be used to wrap bap. This is called ssam. Korean people like to wrap their bap, bulgogi, and hwe in a ssam.
Pyeonyuk is a dish where you boil a whole piece of beef and pork, wrap it with a leaf, press it with a cutting board and slice it thin. You take the slices of meat and you dip it in seasonings like shrimp pickle juice. The brisket of beef, shin (foreshank), brisket of beef, beef tongue, ox-head and other parts of beef are used to make pyeonyuk. The bacon, shoulder, and head parts of pork are adequately used.
Pork pyeonyuk should be eaten with salted shrimp and wrapped with cabbage kimchi. The rough parts of beef, such as: ox-hoof, shin (foreshank), tendon, ox-skin and other parts should be boiled in water for a long time until it becomes like a soup. When the parts become like a soup, that is a sign that the gelatin substance has dissolved and the soup should be poured into a rectangular plate to toughen it up. Slice the toughened soup, and this is called jokpyeon. Dip it on soy sauce and enjoy it.
Twigak is a food which is created by frying kelp, leather tree sprouts, and walnuts in oil. Boogak is a side dish created by applying glutinous rice paste or rice paste to ingredients such as: potatoes, chili, sesame leaf, dried seaweed, and leather tree sprouts. Afterwards, they are fried.
Yuk po (meat sliced thin) is dried beef seasoned with soy sauce. Uh po (fish sliced thin) is dried fish or sliced fish seasoned with salt. Both of them are dried after they are seasoned.
However, Bukuh po (dried pollack sliced thin) is not seasoned and is dried immediately. Beef Yuk po is when sliced rump and rounds of beef are seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, and ground pepper. The meat is massaged with the seasonings and dried afterwards.
Pyeon po is a type of food where chops of lean meat are seasoned well and they are dried. Toppings can be put on a po to be decorated. For a snack with your alcohol, lean meat can become dried in the shape of a jujube, this snack is called a Daechoo po (meat sliced thin that looks like a jujube). Also, there is a food called Chilbopyeon po, which is drying the sliced meat with pine nuts and shaping it in a circle. Finally, there is a food called Po ssam, which is putting pine nuts in the sliced meat and drying it shaped like a dumpling.
Croakers and cods are first cut widely. Then, they are spread as wide as possible and dried as they are soaked in salt. Minuh po (Croakers sliced thin) is called a dried croaker and is used as goim (traditional method of using strings to preserve fish). They are also ripped to make dry side dishes or are cut off to make jjigae. Pollacks are dried by freezing them in the cold winter. They are used as ingredients in side dishes. Also, the body of squids are split and dried.
Jangajji is a type of food where vegetables are pickled in ganjang, gochujang, and doenjang. The vegetables that are pickled are most likely vegetables that are plentiful in that season. Once the season goes by, the vegetables that used to be easy to find, will no longer be available. Thus, they take out the jangajji to use it as side dish. It is also called janggwa. When the jangajji, which has been preserved for a long time, is served on the table, it should be sliced thinly and sesame oil, sugar, ground sesame mixed with salt and other seasonings should be applied. If you want to make jangajji, you must first dry the vegetables or decrease the water level within the vegetables as much as possible. This is to prevent it from rotting.
The ingredients that are used mostly in making jangajji are: garlic. the stalk of garlic, sesame leaf, white radish, cucumber, deodeok and other vegetables. A jangajji, which is not preserved for a long time, is called a gapjanggwa or sookjanggwa. This is made by slicing cucumbers, radishes, young radishes and other vegetables, and then making it dry. After the vegetables are dry, they are seasoned and fried.
Kimchi is the most basic side dish that is made by pickling vegetables, preserving, and fermenting. While it is being fermented, lactobacillus is created to give it a uniquely sour taste. Also, the spicy taste of chili stimulates one’s appetite and creates a unique taste. It also helps with the digestive functions. Other ingredients, other than vegetables, can be used to create a better taste. These ingredients include salted fishes. and the addition of salted fishes creates animal proteins.
In the winter, gimjang (kimchi-making for the winter) kimchi is preserved for a long time. However, in other seasons, the vegetables that are plentiful during that season is used to make kimchi and it does not have to be preserved for a long time.
Jutgal is a food where the fish is preserved in salt. The protein substances of the fish become dissolved and create a unique scent and taste. Among the various jutgals, Saewoo jut (salted shrimp), and Myulchi jut (salted anchovy) are used as supplementary ingredients to kimchi. Myungran jut (salted pollack roe), Ojinguh Jut (salted squid), Chungnan jut (salted pollack tripe), Uhrigul jut (salted oysters with hot pepper), and Jogae jut (salted clams) are eaten as side dishes. Sikhae is a fermented food which mixes the malt of fish and various grains with chili powder, spring onions, garlic, salt and other seasonings. Some types of sikhae include: Gajami sikhae (halibut), Dongtae sikhae (frozen pollack), and Doroomook sikhae (sailfin sandfish).