Sweet, salty, spicy – Korean braised potatoes

While I was born in South Korea, my family immigrated to Australia when I was just 4 years old, therefore I never really had a chance to spend much time with my extended family – especially my mother’s parents, whom I’ve always loved and yearned for more time with.

We did go back to Korea for a few years, and that gave me a chance to spend a bit more time with my maternal grandmother which helped me to understand more about the role that food played in our culture, as well as where my mother had picked up her flavour instincts from! Sadly, nanna was taken from us unexpectedly while we were living there, so the only way that I can find out more about her now is through the stories and recipes that my mother shares.

This is one of them. My mother says this is utterly unaltered from the way that nanna made this all her life, and so when I make this recipe, I sometimes like to imagine her busy hands in the place of my own, and wonder whether she would approve of the way that her granddaughter was making this dish :)

I’m posting this recipe in reply to a special request by Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness, who wanted it to introduce her son to Korean food. I hope he and the rest of your family enjoy it :)

Korean Braised Potatoes

2 large potatoes (or 3 medium)
3-4 cloves garlic
1 – 1 1/2 tsp gochugaru (finely-ground Korean chilli powder)
3 tbsp Korean or Japanese dark soy sauce (not Chinese – it has a completely different flavour)
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp malt syrup
1/2 cup water
A pinch of salt
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

1. Peel the potatoes, then cut in half lengthways. Take one half of the potato, cut it lengthways again, then turn and cut into fairly evenly-sized pieces (to ensure relatively even cooking). Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

2. Rinse the chopped potato in a bowl of water, then either steam/boil/microwave until the potato is half cooked. This is definitely not a traditional step, but using this shortcut will cut your cooking time in half!

3. Meanwhile, take 3-4 garlic cloves and use your kitchen knife to finely mince them.

4. Once the potatoes are half-cooked, drain them and sit them to cool for about 5 minutes. While they are cooling, mix together the soy sauce, gochugaru (Korean chilli powder), garlic and sugar.

5. Heat a large pot or work with a little olive oil over a very low heat, then slowly sautee the potatoes with a pinch of salt until they can be poked through with a fork without them breaking in half.

6. Once the potatoes have reached this stage, pour over the soy sauce mixture and stir to coat.

7. Add the malt syrup to the water and stir to mix, then add it to the pot and stir well to combine.

8. Put the lid on and allow to slowly cook, making sure to give it a stir occasionally so that the sauce evenly coats the potatoes, and that they do not stick to the pan. You will notice that the longer you braise them, the more the sauce will reduce and the darker it will become.

If the sauce disappears entirely before the potatoes are cooked, add a little more water to the pot and stir it through and keep cooking. You do not want these potatoes to be overcooked – just cooked enough so they hold their shape and are soft to bite all the way through with no crunchiness.

9. DO NOT SERVE THIS DISH HOT! Instead, allow this to cool at least to room temperature (as this is when the flavours will shine most), then plate up and garnish very simply with a pinch of toasted sesame seeds.

[tags]Korean recipes, spicy, savoury, potatoes, vegetarian, side dish[/tags]

Others who have tried this recipe:


  1. Gasp! You are blogging all my favourite Korean dishes! Thank you, thank you!

  2. Thank you for posting this… you introduced me to Korean food today too, and for that I’m grateful. I can’t wait to try it!

    Casual Kitchen

  3. I adore you…thank you so very much! Will be making this Thursday, hopefully. I’ll let you know what Alex thinks.

  4. oh i love these! funnily enough i’ve never had it until i got to london. the korean restaurants in melb never seem to serve these.. at least not the ones that i’ve been to anyway..

  5. OMG! This is one of my favourite banchans! Thank you!!! I can’t wait to try it!!!

  6. this is totally new to me! i love the sweet-spicy-salty flavors going on here; ill have to try this recipe soon :)

  7. How do you know when the potatoes are half-cooked?

  8. Mussakka says:

    Yay, more Korean recipes! This is one my favorite banchan.

  9. Thank you so much for posting this. I always get the potatoes when I eat Korean food. They are my favorite! Now I can make them at home. Mmmm . . . I can’t wait to try these myself.

  10. Great dish! It’s amazing how our grandparents can influence us. It’s was my grandma that turned me onto bread making. Bless her heart! You have a wonderful blog!

  11. I live in South Texas and we LOVE potatoes down here. I am so excited to try my hand as these because my husband and I love to try new cuisine! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Oh wow, they sound fabulous!

  13. oh mmmm that is absolutely foodporn, i’m so hungry right now, haha.

  14. This is one of my absolute favorite korean side dishes and always wondered how they made it. Thanks for sharing it!

  15. Yum, I love Korean banchan! They’re probably really good lunch box ideas… Hey, would you happen to know about this banchan I ate at a Korean restaurant, it looked like bean sprout, but it’s a lot crunchier and had a lot more flavour… I don’t know it it’s a vegetable or a noodle… and it was coated in mayonaise…

  16. I do something similar but with potatoes, green pepper and spring onions. This looks really interesting, I am going to try this out this weekend :-)

  17. Looks so yummy! I don’t want to sound dumb, but what kind of potatoes do you use? There are so many different ones out there.

  18. Kitchen Cooking Food Recipes says:

    Yah, seriously — your pictures make excellent food pr0n!

  19. This is such a delicious place to have stumbled across. I am inspired to do some potatoes tomorrow! Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. mmmmmmmmmm!
    Great blog. Great recipes. Thank You. xx

  21. You have a great blog. Nice picture for the food, and great design for the blog.

  22. @Su-Lin – Hehehe, I do my best :) Is there anything else you’re after in terms of a recipe?

    @Daniel – Thanks Dan :) I hope you continue learning about Korean cuisine!

    @Stephanie – Sorry it took so long to get this to you!!

    @ilingc – Urgh, it’s the time-consuming nature of it, I’d be surprised to see this banchan in any restaurant :/

    @SoRMuiJAi – I hope you enjoy it :)

    @veggiebelly – Please do, I’d love to hear what you think!

    @Nora – You’ll be able to stick a fork all the way through without them breaking, but the potato will still be fairly firm.

    @Mussakka – It’s one of my faves too :)

    @Katie – I hope you try this recipe :)

    @Chuck – Thank you honey :)

    @Edie – Hehe, I think potatoes are pretty popular all over the world :) But I do hope you give these a try and let me know what you think!

    @Anna – Thank you sugar :)

    @pieter – Thanks Pieter :)

    @gaga – My pleasure, sweetness :)

    @Bonnie – Coated in mayonnaise? No, I don’t know any Korean banchan that uses mayonnaise – it sounds like a personal recipe to me…

    @Sneh – I think most people have a recipe for braised potatoes of some sort.

    @Lisa – Umm, we just buy the regular scrubbed potatoes at the supermarket – no idea what variety they are!

    @Kitchen Cooking Food Recipes – Thanks honey!

    @Buck – Aww, what a lovely comment :) Thanks, sugar!

    @Vintage Venus – Thanks sweetie, that’s a lovely compliment :)

    @ian – Thanks!

  23. MM. I kind of want to try this recipe with plantain–not at all traditional, of course, but I feel like it would work.

  24. so simple but so yummy looking

  25. Nice Blog…

    I’ll taste next time..

  26. These potatoes loook absolutely delicous. Cant wait to try this recipe out.

  27. @Melissa – I’ve never had plantain so I couldn’t say, but good luck.

    @justcooknyc – Thanks :)

    @Rekomendasi Saham – Thanks :)

    @Ryan – I hope you like the recipe :)

  28. OMG! i love these potatoes. and I am super in love with Korean food.

    I chance upon ur blog after seeing your dutch pancake post on livejournal. and I love baking and cooking too!

    I am so going to be a regular ready of your blog!


  29. Thanks so much for this recipe Ellie! I’ve been dying to make this at home for a good while now. Are you planning on posting a recipe for Oi Sobagi anytime? I would love to see what you do for yours, since I loved your kimchee post.

  30. @ Lianne – Thanks for the lovely comments :) I hope you do try a few recipes out! If you do, please let me know how you go as I’d love to hear back from you :)

    @ mali – My pleasure, sweetie :) Oi sobagi is a summer dish (that’s when cucumbers are cheap!) so unfortunately I won’t be posting that recipe for a few months at least :(

  31. Ellie, thank you very much for the recipe, I was wondering if there’s an alternative to malt syrup?..
    Because I come from Latvia and I don’t think we have malt syrup here…
    Thanks in advance!! :smile:

  32. Caroline says:

    I made these today and they were absolutely delicious. I didn\’t have any malt syrup so I used maple syrup. They ended up being a tad bit overcooked because the liquid took longer than expected to reduce but it was delicious anyway.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  33. @Alina – The best substitute would be to use dark corn syrup, but if you cannot access that, then its best to omit it entirely and just rely on white sugar to provide the sweetness necessary. Other sweetners such as honey or maple syrup have other flavours in them so adding them would change the flavour of this dish quite a bit!

    @Caroline – I’m glad that you enjoyed the recipe, I’m definitely curious to see how they would have tasted with maple syrup replacing the malt…but as proper Canadian maple syrup is extremely dear here in Australia, I think I’ll just keep imagining it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  34. hi! I really like this recipe and would like to follow.

    I come from Poland and believe me that it is very difficult to buy gochugaru. If I found it in one of the e-stores, it was very expensive. Is it possible to prepare it at home? Do you know a good recipe for it?

    If it is unreplaceable – no problem ๐Ÿ˜‰


  35. Nina – unfortunately, gochugaru is the dried flakes of a Korean pepper and tastes different to other sorts of chilli powders. Your best bet is to go with the proper ingredient rather than try and replace it :)

  36. Elizabeth says:

    Neither my mom or I know exactly what we were eating except it is ferns. My grandma doesn’t even make it anymore. But I digress. I know it is a fern dish and wanted to find a recipe to make it. She serves it alongside Mandu but it’s delicious ferns of some sort. Would you have an ideas or recipes?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I know exactly what it is since we make it about once a month :) it’s called fern bracken (or bracken fern), and sold in dried form (which is why it is always brown when served in Korean cuisine), which is rehydrated overnight then the excess liquid is squeezed out before it’s stir-fried with fresh garlic and sesame oil. I’ll write down the recipe for you when we next make it – which should be next weekend? Keep an eye out for it on the blog over the next month :)


  37. Hell yes these taters are the shit http://t.co/bStQENnH

  38. Just tried this recipe. It’s great! Thanks.

  39. Yay! I’ve been having a craving for this for weeks. Definitely my favorite banchan ๐Ÿ˜› Thanks!

  40. Love this so much! Thanks for sharing the recipe :) I cooked this dish with some variations – I added carrots and sweet yam to the potato mix. Oh so delicious!! ๐Ÿ˜€
    jjme recently posted..Homemade Malaysian Dry Noodle (Kon Lo Mee)

  41. I found THE recipe! o; http://t.co/YdQVAfMe

  42. Great recipe! Works well using big chunks of carrot instead of the potato, just made it now.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
%d bloggers like this: