One of the most exciting elements of Korean cuisine is the seemingly endless variety of side-dishes, or ‘Banchan’ that are included with each meal. If you sit down for a Korean meal, chances are your table will soon be laden with small, sharing dishes such as pickles, ferments, fried pancakes, steamed vegetables, condiments and more. Banchan act as snacks within the main meal, providing complimentary and contrasting flavours and textures. Traditionally, bowls of banchan are bottomless, so if dining at a Korean establishment, expect to be topped up once a bowl is emptied – you will not be going hungry!
Though they can be quite elaborate, you can easily make simple banchan at home. Try using our Korean Gochugaru Blend to make Spicy Cucumber Salad, Korean Potato Pancake and Homemade Kimchi. Feeling creative? Try making your own signature banchan using the glaze from our Korean Fried Chicken with Gochugaru Glaze to dress vegetables, fried tofu or lotus root chips.
If you have sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds and soy sauce at hand, you can extend your banchan repertoire even further. Kongnamul (bean sprouts) offer a quick and satisfying crunch – season the bean sprouts with soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic and sliced spring onion. For some greens, steam broccoli together with some medium-firm tofu, crumble the tofu over the broccoli and dress with soy sauce, minced garlic and sesame oil before finishing with sliced spring onion.
Banchan offer the perfect opportunity to extend your cooking repertoire into new territory by playing with texture, flavour and new exciting ingredients.