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.