International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Bulgogi and Banchan for Dinner

Korean food market

I was passing by a Korean market recently and was drawn in by the exotic sights, sounds and smells. Instantly I knew...Korean was what's for eats tonight!

I decided to keep it simple and just picked up basic Korean ingredients: rice, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, dang myeon noodles and some gochu jang fermented bean paste (yum!).

Simplicity is what is so great about Korean food—a punch of flavor with the simplest of effort. I was able to knock out bulgogi and six banchan (side dishes) in a little over an hour.

  • First—always first—fill and start the rice cooker. Then I steamed some eggplant, tore it into pieces and tossed it with a little rice vinegar, soy, salt and sesame oil. In a bowl, on the table.
  • I used the water from steaming the eggplant to blanch some mung bean sprouts and tossed them with sesame oil and some minced garlic and scallions for sookju namul. In a bowl, on the table.
  • Next I stir fried the spinach for sigumchi namul and the shiitakes for beuseus namul. In a bowl, on the table.
  • I mixed a simple batter for pajeon pancakes and topped them with some of the sprouts and some shredded carrot. On a plate, cut into pieces, on the table.
  • I pulled some kimchi out of the fridge (store bought) and plopped it in a bowl. I mixed a little of the gochujang with water to make a condiment sauce. In a bowl, on the table.
  • Now all I had to do was grill up the bulgogi on my skillet still hot from the pajeon. In a bowl, on the table.

Ready, set, eat! Maybe I’ll get to the jap chae next time.

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