Healthy cuisine with grains and vegetables
Some common ingredients added to Korean cuisine are onion, ginger, red pepper, soy sauce, bean paste, sesame, vinegar, and wine. Dishes are preserved by fermenting (kimchi, bean paste, and soybean sauce) or drying (salted fish). The most well-known dish in Korea is kimchi, usually, cabbage is pickled with red pepper and salt. It is served to complement almost every meal.
Another popular Korean dish is bulgogi or Korean barbecue. Meat is marinated in soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, and other seasonings then grilled. Korea is also known for its “soup culture”.
Maeuntang is a spicy soup that consists of white fish, bean curs, vegetables, and red pepper.
Koreans have also developed a way to brew grains in order to make Korean wine. Rice, wheat, barley, millet, and beans are the five popular grains used for winemaking. Other popular wines are made from azalea petals, cherry wines, ginseng wines, apricot brandies, and pine tree wines. Overall the Korean diet is healthy and well balanced. It is high in fiber, low in fat, and has a moderate caloric count. Before meat and seafood, the main part of their diet consists of grains and vegetables. Rice is a staple in the Korean diet and is eaten with various side dishes and soup for the typical meal at home.
Korean appetizers include rice, lots of eggs, tofu, flour for the dough, and various kinds of meat like beef and pork. Sugar is an ever-present element in Korean appetizers since sweet and salty meals are Korean favorites.
Asparagus Cooked Like Fern is a dish made by stir-frying cut up asparagus in sesame oil. Then add soy sauce and chicken broth and simmer until crisp-tender. Asparagus is placed on a platter. Reduce and pour sauce on top and cover with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.
Dal-gyal Mal-e – Stir eggs and add sugar and salt. Fry 2/3 of the eggs on a pan. Turn over 3 or 4 times until almost cooked then push to side of the pan. Pour on the rest of the eggs and repeat this process. When completely cooked, cut up and serve.
Gogi Wan-ja Jun – Smash tofu in a cotton cloth. Mix green onions, garlic, salt, pepper, tofu, and sesame oil with ground beef or pork. Roll meat into balls. Sprinkle flour over the balls and dip into beaten eggs and fry.
Korean soups are called tang and have some spice added to them. Soups can be both light and fluid, as well as creamy and thick.
Dwenjang jjigae (Korean bean paste stew with beef and vegetables) – In a pot beef is sautéed in sesame oil. Then water is added and all is brought to a boil. Mix around dwenjang (Korean bean paste), gochoojang (Korean chili paste), gochoogaroo (Korean chili powder). Then minced garlic and chopped potato are added. Afterwards green onion, carrot, squash, and tofu. Cook some more and serve with rice.
Yookgaejang (Spicy beef, scallion soup) – Julienne beef and saute in a pot with soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili powder. Then water and bean sprouts are added. Heat is reduced and cooked for 20 minutes. Afterward, packaged fern brake with the water drained is added and continued to cook until the beef is tender. At the last minute green onion, salt and pepper are added.
Korean salads mostly consist of cabbage or lettuce, cucumber, rice, and various meats such as pork or beef or fish and seafood which most of the time is raw.
Hoedeopbap is a meal that includes rice mixed with fresh vegetables and raw fish and bibimbap is made with rice and vegetables as a topping, beef, and egg with a paste of chili pepper.
Sook Choo Na Mool – salad oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, scallions, pimiento, sesame seeds, and garlic are blended together. Then bean sprouts are placed in a salad bowl and the blended dressing is poured over all. Mixed and chilled for one hour.
Oh ee mu chim (Cucumber salad) – An English cucumber or seeded cucumber is sliced thinly. Rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, minced garlic, go choo ga roo (Korean chili powder) and salt are mixed with the cucumber and served.
Meat dishes include stews, grilled meats, cut into small pieces, and wrapped with lettuce, bacon, and ribs. Pork is used for the galbi (sliced pork ribs or sometimes chicken) or the samgyeopsal (belly of pork, cooked on a grill, and served with onions and garlic).
Chap Jae (stir fry) – Finely ground beef or pork is fried and set aside. Cellophane noodles are boiled then rinsed in cold water and cut into 3 or 4-inch lengths. Then spinach is cooked and rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces. Dried or fresh mushrooms are cut into small pieces. Then the mushrooms, onion. and carrots are stir-fried till tender. Add meat, noodles, spinach. and some more oil if needed. Everything is stir-fried then sesame seeds, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, pepper. and salt are added. When all ingredients are blended serve.
Galbi jjim (Beef short ribs in sweet soy sauce) – Ribs are washed and placed in cold water for an hour. The ribs are placed in a big pot with water, soy sauce, sugar, onion, garlic, ginger, peppers, and chung ju (sake or red wine). Then stirred to melt the sugar and, simmered for 2-3 hours until the meat falls from the bones. Chestnuts and carrots are added 1o-15 minutes before done.
Stir Fry Beef with Peppers – Beef is cut into thin strips and seasoned with rice wine, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and cornstarch. The Korean green peppers are cut into thin strips and soaked in water to remove some of the heat. Garlic is sliced into flat pieces then the green pepper and red pepper strips are lightly stir-fried with salt and sugar. Then the garlic and seasoned beef is added and stir-fried again. –Any small hot green pepper may be used instead of Korean pepper.
In Korean cuisine tea or chai refers to various types of tisane that can be served hot or cold. Tea can be made from various substances such as fruit, flowers, leaves, roots, and grains, or herbs and substances used in traditional Korean medicines such as ginseng and ginger.
Soju is the best-known liquor but there are over 100 different alcoholic beverages such as beer, rice, and fruit wines and liquors produced in South Korea. The South Korean beer market is dominated by three major brands – Cass, Hite, and OB. Taedonggang is a North Korean beer produced at a brewery based in Pyongyang since 2002. Soju is a clear spirit originally made from grain, especially rice, and is now made from sweet potato or barley.
Soju made from grain is considered superior. Soju is around 22% ABV and is a favorite among hard-up college students, hard-drinking businessmen and blue-collar workers.
Yakju is a refined pure liquor fermented from rice and the best known is cheongju. Takju is a thick unrefined liquor made from grains and the best-known one is makgeolli which is a white, milky rice wine traditionally drunk by farmers
There are also various fruit and herbal wines such as Acacia, maesil plum, Chinese quince, cherry, pine fruit, and pomegranate which are among the most popular. Also available are Majuang wine (a blended wine of Korean grapes with French or American wines) and ginseng based wines.