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Little Known Details About Korean Foods

Background Check of Your Favorite Korean Dishes

How much do you really know about the most popular Korean foods apart from its intoxicating flavors, healthy ingredients and well-known spiciness?
Let’s look at few interesting background tidbits.

Rice. It is the biggest crop produced in South Korea. It is central to Korean cuisine. Bap is the Korean word for rice, describing meals or food in general. The starchy, sticky as glue staple is equivalent to the American bread and butter.

Banchan (Korea’s equivalent to tapas) are side dishes, as many as 8 or more at the table. Small portions are served, almost always refillable, but meant to be all consumed. Korean custom is that you should always leave the table full.

Bulgogi literally means ‘fire meat.’ The beef or pork is marinated and grilled over an open flame for intense flavor. It’s also called Korean barbeque. It used to be traditionally prepared especially for the wealthy and the nobility.

Japchae means ‘mix vegetables’ in Korean. It was first introduced in the imperial court of the of the Joseon dynasty, created by a king at the time. Originally just vegetables and mushrooms, the dish is now prepared with stir-fried glass noodles.

Man-doo, Korean-style dumplings, are considered symbols of good luck during lunar New Year festivities. Did you know that the dumplings are not of Asian roots, but actually originated from Mesopotamia?

Tdeukguk, or Tteokguk, literally translates to rice cake soup. It’s a traditional Korean New Year celebration dish. It is customary to eat it to get older.

Loving Popular Korean Foods in Seattle

Whatever the background of your favorite Korean dish, enjoy the flavors and textures of our popular selections at Korean Tofu House. We love tradition and we know you do, too.

Secrets of Sesame Oil by UW Korean Restaurant

The Common Oil and Its Not So Common Benefits

Sesame oil is an amber-colored, edible vegetable oil derived from pressed toasted sesame seeds. While South India uses it as cooking oil, other Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries employ it as an excellent seasoning and flavor enhancer. Sesame oil has a distinct nutty and buttery flavor and aroma. There is a lighter-colored version of sesame oil, made with untoasted seeds and sold in health-food or some Middle Eastern stores. Because its flavor is mild, it’s more suitable for cooking than dark sesame oil.

It is widely used in Korea, called chamgireum, a common ingredient in Korean cooking. it is used to make namul, a vegetable side dish, adding a glossy finish to it. The popular bibimbap also uses a big spoonful of sesame oil to add flavor. Salt and pepper are also mixed with the oil to make a dipping sauce for grilled meat, like pork and lamb, to reduce or mask the gamey flavor of the meats.

Koreans prefer the color amber sesame oil for stir-frying meats and vegetables, or for sauteing, or used in the final stages of cooking. They don’t use it for deep-frying as it burns easily owing to the oil’s natural antioxidants.

The impressive amount of vitamins, minerals, organic compounds, and other beneficial components in sesame oil is the reason why it is considered so healthy. It is a rich source of Vitamin E, magnesium, copper, calcium, and zinc. And unlike most oils, sesame oil is high the beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acid, Omega-6, which is known to lower blood pressure.

Heart-friendly, sesame oil contains a wide range of polyunsaturated fatty acids, keeping the cardiovascular system healthy, lowering cholesterol levels, reducing atherosclerosis. Rich in zinc, the oil increases skin elasticity and smoothness, helping to reduce the early signs of aging. It’s also be used as a sunscreen or may even treat skin fungal infections. It also retains the natural color of hair and minimizes hair loss.

Sesame oil’s significant copper content enables optimal production of red blood cells, life-giving to the different tissues and organs of the body. Copper is a natural anti-inflammatory agent reducing the inflammation and discomfort in gout and arthritis, swelling of joints and blood vessels.

On the other hand, the copper, zinc, and calcium combination in sesame oil promotes bone growth, regrowth and healing, hence delaying osteoporosis and other age-related weaknesses of the bones.

Healthy Flavor Enhancers in Seattle

Enjoy your favorite UW Korean restaurant favorites enhanced by the flavor and aroma of healthy sesame oil. For meals delicious and nutrient-rich, head no further than the Korean Tofu House.

Give It Up for Ginger: by UW Korean Restaurant

Health-Promoting Benefits of Ginger

Ginger has always been considered an essential cooking ingredient in Korean cuisine. Called Saenggang, it is another vegetable commonly used alongside garlic. It is typically used in marinade sauce, in Kimchi or in some Korean tea.

Different countries use ginger differently. Some Asian cuisines have their ginger pickled, grated, shredded, grounded into paste, or brewed as tea, in Korea ginger is made into kimchi. It is either finely minced or just juiced to avoid the fibrous texture and added to the ingredients of a spicy paste just before the fermenting process. In Western cuisine, ginger is traditionally used mainly in sweet foods such as ginger ale, gingerbread, ginger snaps, parkin, ginger biscuits, and speculaas.

Gingerol is the active component of fresh ginger. It is chemically related of capsaicin and piperine which give chilli peppers and black pepper their spiciness. It is normally found as a pungent yellow oil, hence, its unique fragrance and flavor. However, when cooked, ginger transformed into the less pungent zingerone.

Gingerol has been investigated in some studies and found to have medicinal values. For example, it seems to be effective in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been studied for its effect on cancer tumors in the bowel, breast, ovaries, the pancreas, among other tissues, with positive results.

Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea, especially that associated with morning sickness; likewise, also on nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. However, caution or a doctor’s advice must be sought in ingesting large amounts of ginger in whatever form owing to the risk to the fetus of the pregnant mother.

Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle soreness. It may be effective at reducing the daily progress of muscle pain if it doesn’t do so immediately. Against arthritis, a study showed that a combination of topically-applied ginger, mastic, cinnamon and sesame oil, can reduce pain and stiffness in these patients. Also, ginger has been shown to help patients with chronic indigestion, may significantly relieve premenstrual syndrome pain, lower the bad cholesterol levels, and even blood sugar levels.

Good Ginger in Your Diet

With these beneficial effects of the lowly ginger, it is good to enjoy dishes that include the flavors and aroma of this root crop, such as found in many of our selections at Korean Tofu House. Know more about how ginger enhances many other Korean dishes and improves your health issues.