Bring on the banchan, pt 2

banchan2.jpg

I have to admit that the response to my mother’s Korean recipes has been utterly overwhelming – so much so that I’ve been pestering her over the past few months to start writing down her recipes into some sort of cookbook. Unfortunately, since she cooks instinctively and by memory, the idea of having to sit down and document all her kitchen fiddlings doesn’t exactly fill her with joy…something I could kind of predict as she has taken to sighing in a most despondent fashion whenever I plonk myself next to her and pour whatever ingredient is in the palm of her hand into one of my measuring implements.

Actually, reading that paragraph over, it kinda strikes me as no wonder that my mother has taken to calling me the kitchen pain in the ass. Heh.

Anyway, here’s the second banchan post, and this time I have for you two different kind of myolchi (fried dried baby anchovies), miyok joolgi (sauteed seaweed strands) and kong jjang (stewed black beans).

Also, please note, there is a high probability that these flavours are not going to be exactly the same as the ones you’ve tasted at whatever Korean restaurant that you went to, the reason for that is that every person makes these according to their own or their family’s tastebuds. These are OUR family recipes, and I know of no other so if you want others, you’ll have to find another Korean person to complain to!

(Yes, I know that last paragraph is a little rude, but it comes in response to one complaint from a reader that my mother’s kimchi didn’t taste exactly like the one she had at her local JAPANESE restaurant. Do I need to point out the problem here? Also, I blame part of my aggravation on the fact that I have a week till my exam and am sorely behind in my study)

myolchi.jpg

Okay, we have two different types of myolchi that my mother likes to make – both are sweet and crunchy, but one is plain while the other is spicy. Both are wonderful, so much so that my brother often enjoys just grabbing a bowl of warm rice and heaping these on top, stirring them through and enjoying the resulting mixture as a snack!

Myolchi

Ingredients (for plain myolchi)

  • 200g dried baby anchovies1
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp Korean malt syrup (can be replaced with light corn syrup but this will affect the flavour)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 – These come in a wide variety of sizes, but we find the tastiest ones for this dish are the tiny little ones about the size of baitfish. If you can’t find these, then the ones for panfrying will be fine. Just be sure you don’t use the ones for soup stock as they will not work here.

Ingredients (for chilli myolchi)

  • 200g dried baby anchovies1
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 tbsp gochujjang (Korean seasoned chilli paste)
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Korean malt syrup (can be replaced with light corn syrup but this will affect the flavour)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 – These come in a wide variety of sizes, but we find the tastiest ones for this dish are the tiny little ones about the size of baitfish. If you can’t find these, then the ones for panfrying will be fine. Just be sure you don’t use the ones for soup stock as they will not work here.

1. Put the dried anchovies into a colander and give it a good shaking to shake out any of the loose anchovy powder – leaving this powder in will make the dish chalky and gritty.2. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan, then add the baby anchovies and garlic and saute till the anchovies and garlic are toasted and fragrant.3. Add the sugar and malt syrup to the pan, and stir it through over the heat till the mixture has thickened and is well mixed together.

4. Remove from the heat, stir through the toasted sesame seeds then allow to completely cool before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge.

1. Put the dried anchovies into a colander and give it a good shaking to shake out any of the loose anchovy powder – leaving this powder in will make the dish chalky and gritty.2. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan, then add the baby anchovies and garlic and saute till the anchovies and garlic are toasted and fragrant.3. Add the gochujjang, sweet chilli sauce, sugar and malt syrup to the pan, and stir it through over the heat till the mixture has thickened and is well mixed together.

4. Remove from the heat, stir through the toasted sesame seeds then allow to completely cool before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge.

miyeokjoolgi.jpg

Now this is a slightly more uncommon banchan, and it has had a rather lukewarm reception from those who have come over for dinner and been unfamiliar with it. However, it is a gorgeous way of preparing this particular kind of seaweed (wakame strands) for consumption, and the soft yet crunchy texture teamed with the salty, garlicky flavour makes for an unforgettable dish which is definitely one of my favourites!

Miyeok Joolgi

Ingredients
500g sliced wakame strands, preserved in salt2
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

2 – this is the name of the dish, so if you can’t find it, ask your local Korean/Japanese grocer if they stock ‘miyeok joolgi’

1. Soak the salted wakame strands in water for about 10-15 minutes, then give them a good rinse and drain the water. Give them a good wash in two more changes of clean water.

2. Slice them into comfortable lengths with a pair of scissors as they will be quite long, about 10cm long is a good length.

3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, then saute the strands with the crushed garlic over medium-high heat for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1 tbsp fish sauce and stir through. Give it a taste, and if it needs a bit more salt, add the second tbsp of fish sauce.

4. Stir through the toasted sesame seeds, then allow to completely cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

kongjang.jpg

Now this dish has been driving me insane, purely because I’ve been searching for the English translation of the type of bean used to make it and for the life of me I cannot find one. I also have not spotted this outside of Asian grocery stores, so unfortunately if you aren’t close to a well-stocked Asian grocery, then I’m afraid this isn’t one you’re going to be able to replicate.

My mother is absolutely adamant that these aren’t black soybeans, so I’m just going to go with Asian black beans for now – if you look on the packet, the best ones to get will say ‘(with green centres)’ on the front, under the title. The next batch we buy, I’ll be sure to get a picture of the Chinese writing on the packet and perhaps someone can help me with the translation?

Kong Jjang

Ingredients
1 pk black beans with green centers (approx 350g)
1 cup light soy sauce
1 cup water
1-2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 – 1 tbsp Korean malt syrup
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Wash the beans to remove any dust or debris, then rinse them under clean water and drain them.

2. Combine soy sauce and water in a pot, then add the beans and boil without the lid on for about 15-20 mins, or till the beans are half cooked and the liquid reduced to about 1/3 of a cup.

3. Add 1-2 tbsp of white sugar, continuously stir as you continue to boil the beans till most of the liquid has evaporated.

4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the malt syrup and toasted sesame seeds, stirring to evenly coat. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

[tags]banchan, Korean cuisine, recipes, side dishes, food, vegetables[/tags]

Comments

  1. Dear Ellie,

    Thanks, I really enjoy ALL your Korean recipes.
    However, I have difficulty with some of the ingredients since I am new to Korean cooking. Any chance of seeing more of your professional photos of some “must have” or “good to have” pantry items? I know most of the basic common ones (like soy sauce, sesame oil, etc.). I am looking more for the less known Korean pantry items. Thanks!

  2. That’s actually a really good idea! I’ll put together a blog post covering the basic Korean kitchen needs :)

  3. OMG I love those black beans. I’m so excited that I found your recipe.
    Kathryn recently posted..The things you do when you aren’t studying Japanese

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