Author Archives: Korean Tofu House

Ingredients That Characterize Korean Cuisine

What are the Top Korean Essentials?

If you are bent in turning your own kitchen into a cooking haven dedicated to Korean cuisine, these are the top ingredients you cannot do without.

Let’s start with condiments. Soy sauce (jinganjang) is the most common and absolutely essential for barbeque marinades, jorim and bokkeum. Soy sauce can do also. There are many varieties in the market and you can opt for the low-sodium brand, if you wish; just check the label. In addition to soy sauce, there’s kochujang or red chili pepper paste, used for marinades, bokkeum and fresh vegetable sauces. No substitutes for this, please.

Also look for daenjang, or Korean soybean paste, a classic fermented seasoning used in dips, soups, stews and many more. Korean fish sauce is typically used in varieties of kimchi to accelerate the fermentation process. Korean rice vinegar is not as sour as regular white vinegar but more flavorful.

There are spices, of course. Spices are a staple of Korean cuisine. Have ginger and garlic and kochukaru. This is Korean chili pepper powder with a unique sweet flavor that’s entirely Korean. Going to vegetables, no Korean meal is complete without scallions or green onions. Napa cabbage is usually for kimchi, while perilla leaves are used in a pickled side dish, in stir fry and as a wrap. Grains is huge in Korean diet. From grains come rice, rice wine and noodles. Sesame oil (Chamgireum) is widely used in side dishes, rice dishes, BBQ and in dipping sauce. It adds a nutty aroma and savory flavor.

Some essential ingredients are dry, such as Korean chili powder/hot pepper flakes (gochujang) made from dried red chilies, roasted sesame seeds usually used as garnish, gim (dried seaweed sheets), dried anchovies, ground black pepper, roasted solar salt that isn’t too salty or sour, and sweeteners, the liquid form as rice or corn syrup Koreans prefer. Of course, don’t miss out on the versatile tofu or bean curd, a major component in Asian, and certainly Korean, cuisine.

Magical Essentials in UW Seattle Korean Restaurant

You see how Korean foods come together using their basic, essential ingredients. Korean Tofu House in UW brings you their classics with the magic of truly Korean essentials.

Factors that Influenced Korean Cuisine

Shaping Korea’s Food Through the Years

Korea’s cuisine is an integral part of her culture in many ways. Flourishing and evolving from one century to the next, Korean food has come down to what we know it today, a product of many culinary upheavals. Many dishes have retained their authenticity, others have morphed in delicious ways affected by interior and exterior factors.

Environment is one influencer of Korean cuisine. Being a peninsula and surrounded by water, fishing was a main livelihood throughout her history. Seafoods drove Korea’s economy and defined the diet of the people. On the other hand, her terrain grew many crops – rice, vegetables, fruits – well and abundantly, sustaining Koreans through their hot summers, chilly winters and long autumns.

Weather also played a key role for the people. Their harsh winters made Koreans resourceful in making body-warming delicacies, such as fermented foods – kimchi and deonjang (soybean pastes). They have hot stews, spicy noodles, and steaming broths.

Korea’s history also shaped her food. Before the 20th century, Korea’s economy was in shambles and hardships forced her people to turn to the land to get their food. Farming became a way of life for rural Korea, raising also plenty of wild and farm animals. Aso during that century, China was a powerhouse in East Asia and whose government, culture, and foods were passed on to Korea and then to Japan. Rice was one of neighboring China’s main legacy to Korea.

It is Korea’s hardworking and enigmatic people who have conformed themselves to all these internal and external influencers, creating the cuisine they have become internationally known for. They were shaped by these factors and themselves shaped their history – their culture, economy and food.

A Little of History and Culture in UW Seattle

Drop by Korean Tofu House, your UW Korean restaurant in the U-District; we’ve got all your favorite traditional dishes. Know that in every bowl and plate of our Korean selections, you get a peek into a rich source of history that shaped this country’s cuisine.

Getting to Know the Top Foods of South Korea

More South Korean Foods to Love

The western world’s love affair with Korean cuisine has been a charmed one. Loving kimchi, bibimbap and bulgogi as we do, we have made these the top sellers in many Korean restaurants across the US. But this Asian cuisine is not just all about the Big 3. There are other delicious dishes we’re missing.

How about South Korea’s stir fried noodles? The Japchae or Chapchae is a traditional Korean noodle dish. It’s made up of sweet potato noodles or glass noodles with vegetables and beef that are thinly shredded. Ingredients are stir-fried in sesame oil with just a hint of soy sauce and sugar. It is typically served as a side dish but also served on a bed of rice as the main dish. Some chefs cook the noodles separately from the ingredients – it is said to enhance the flavors and texture better.

The sweeter version of the Western pancake, hoeddeok or hotteok, is a popular Korean street food, especially during winter. It’s a pancake with brown sugar syrup inside. The dough is flat and round, crunchy on the outside, filled with a mixture of cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, and peanuts, and cooked on a griddle. Another popular street food is Ddukbokkie or tteokbokki, made of cylindrical rice cakes, triangular fish cake, vegetables, and sweet red chili sauce. It’s a combination of spicy and sweet flavors. The Haemul Pajeon is another pancake-like dish predominantly with seafood ingredients – oysters, shrimp, squid, and clams – mixed with flour, onions and egg batter.

Let’s do soups and stews. Seolleongtang is a traditional hot Korean soup made from ox bones, ox meat and briskets; a local dish of Seoul. The broth is of a milky white, cloudy color and is often eaten with rice, very flavorful and chewy. The Soondubu jiggae is a common spicy Korean stew generally made of tofu, vegetables, mushrooms, seafood, beef or pork, and chili paste. A raw egg on top gives additional flavor. Naengmyeon is a cold noodle dish, often of buckwheat, that consists of long, thin noodles, cucumbers, slices of pear, slices of beef and a hard-boiled egg. It’s a cool-off dish during summer.

All Seasons’ Korean Delights

Are you ready to try other South Korean dishes to captivate your taste buds? Look no further than Korean Tofu House, your UW Korean restaurant. Whatever the season, we’ve got something for you.