Tag Archives: Korean food

An Easy Introduction to Korean Cooking

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Wrote a post on Korean cooking for TasteTablet.

Asian cuisine has exploded in popularity in the U.S. over the past few years, assisted by globalization and increased awareness. Korean cooking is a style that’s particularly well-suited for at-home cooking, as it is simple, filling, and generally healthy. The ingredients at first glance may look intimidating due to unfamiliarity, but what makes many Korean recipes so easy to make is that it’s all about assembly for the main dish and, then, if you like, adding some two-ingredient side dishes. For main dishes, there are no lengthy processes, complicated sauces, or three-pot meals – the goal is to end up with all your ingredients in one delicious, multi-flavored bowl. Banchan – a blanket term for an array of side dishes – is what you will get at any Korean restaurant, but can be subtracted, or included, at will when cooking at home. I personally find Korean cooking immensely satisfying and easy on the eyes and the palate.

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Basic Ingredients for Asian Cooking

After living briefly in Asia, I came back and added to my kitchen a whole range of seasonings and ingredients I’d never used before. Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need for Asian cooking.

  • sesame oil (sidebar: in “real” Chinese cooking, sesame oil is never used during the actual cooking process, but added as flavoring afterward)
  • sesame seeds
  • oyster sauce
  • soy sauce
  • soy bean paste
  • vinegar
  • red pepper powder/hot pepper paste
  • sake (used as cooking wine)
  • veggies, especially carrots, brocoli, and mushrooms
  • tofu
  • rice

It’s also good to have:

  • dried seaweed
  • dried shrimp
  • soybean sprouts
  • fish sauce
  • corn syrup
  • rice wine
  • honey powder
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