Flavours of Korea


Some Basic Recipes

The following recipes are for items that are used repeatedly in Korean cooking and which are referred to in the recipes.

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Toasted sesame seeds are a characteristic Korean flavouring, used as an ingredient in marinades, as well as a garnish for salads and other dishes. Make a large batch, and store in a screw-top jar.

4 ounces sesame seeds

4 teaspoons salt

Heat a frying pan to medium-hot, and add the sesame seeds. Cook, tossing and turning the seeds until they begin to brown and take on the characteristic toasted aroma. Remove before they burn and pop. Place in mortar, together with salt, and crush them with a pestle to release more aroma and flavour. Store in a screw-top jar.

Cho Jang (Vinegar Dipping Sauce I)

Cho jang is an essential condiment of the Korean table, used as a dressing for vegetables, a dip for fried fish, meats, fritters, and dumplings, or simply as a flavouring ingredient. Everybody has their own version, but do experiment to include more or less of those ingredients-- chillies, chopped garlic, sesame oil, fresh coriander-- whichever you like best. Here is Halmoni's recipe for making a large batch to store and use as necessary. Below, we also include two variations, made in smaller quantities.

6 tablespoons rice or cider vinegar

3/4 pint soy sauce

2 heaped teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped

2 teaspoons red pepper powder

2 teaspoons sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and stir well. Store in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator and use as needed.

Cho Jang (Vinegar Dipping Sauce II)

Everyone has their own version for this popular condiment. Experiment and add your own ingredients to taste.

1 tablespoon rice or cider vinegar

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon red pepper powder

Chopped fresh chillies to taste, and/or chopped garlic, and/or chopped fresh ginger, and/or chopped fresh coriander

Mix all the ingredients together and stir well. Serve in saucers as a dipping accompaniment to fried fritters, fish or meat.

Kochujang (Red Pepper Sauce)

Kochujang, the characteristic staple red pepper, bean and glutinous rice paste, is usually purchased in jars already prepared, and is an essential staple of the Korean kitchen. However, a more tasty red pepper sauce to be served as a dip or dressing can be made by adding a few more ingredients to the already prepared basic sauce.

2 tablespoons kochujang

2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped

1 tablespoon rice or cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

2 spring onions, shredded finely on the diagonal

2 teaspoons sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and serve in saucers as a dip, with grilled meats, raw fish, or vegetables.

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