Korea is often forgotten due to being next to larger nations like China and Japan. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see a country with its own rich history and cultural traditions.
These traditions include the cuisine; Korean dishes, in general, tend to include a lot of rice and seafood, as well as vegetables. Fermenting also plays a large part in cooking, giving Korean food a distinctive taste.
If you’re looking to spice up your meal experience, here are seventeen amazing Korean dishes, and how to make them. These dishes will provide an unforgettable experience.
17 Authentic Korean Recipes
When someone thinks of Korean food, this is usually the first dish that comes to mind. Kimchi is made from fermented cabbage which is pickled in saltwater.
Kimchi comes in many varieties, some of which are spicier than others due to the use of chili powder. “Baek Kimchi” or “White Kimchi” is one of the less spicy kinds.
Bibimbap is a mixture of fried rice with vegetables topped by grilled beef or another kind of meat and an egg. The dish is traditionally stirred together before eating.
This dish takes around an hour to prepare but it’s worth the wait. It’s a delicious dinner with a lot of protein and other vitamins.
Also known as one type of Korean barbecue, bulgogi is a kind of marinated and grilled meat. It’s usually beef, but other kinds of meat can be used, like chicken or pork.
In bulgogi meat is covered in a marinade with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar as the main ingredients. Then it’s grilled with vegetables. Add potato noodles for the full experience.
4. Dak Galbi
Dak galbi is a chicken stir fry covered with chili flakes and a hot pepper paste. It’s very spicy, and not for all tastes, but if you can take the heat, it’s delicious.
If spicy food isn’t for you, there are substitutes available. Some chicken stock powder works well, for example, as does limiting the amount of pepper paste and chili flakes used.
If you want something that’s like a rice cake but with a spicy seafood twist, try tteobokki. It’s a unique pairing of rice cakes and fish cakes boiled in an anchovy sauce.
The anchovy sauce can be substituted with chicken if you aren’t in the mood for seafood. Tteobokki is a dish that’s best when shared with friends, especially friends who like spicy food!
Here’s a dish that’s savory rather than spicy. Pajeon is a kind of scallion pancake, like the Chinese scallion pancakes which are also called conyoubing,
One main difference between pajeon and conyoubing is the texture: pajeon is less flaky and more fluffy. Both pancakes are meant to be dipped, though, and there are plenty of dip recipes online.
If you want a new dish for dessert and have a steamer, you can make chapssaltteok. These sweet rice cakes are a bit like the Japanese rice cakes called mochi.
Chapssaltteok are gluten-free because they’re made from rice flour. Depending on the filling they can also be vegan and dairy-free. It only takes about a half-hour to whip up these sweet treats.
This is not a quick dish, but good things come to those who wait. Seolleongtang is a kind of soup made by simmering a beef bone for hours, or even overnight.
Once the soup is done, you can add seasonings and vegetables. Scallions, radish, salt, and pepper. Noodles can also be added, but they must be cooked separately.
What can I say about this braised chicken recipe? Jjimdak is a bit like a chicken noodle soup with soy sauce, fish sauce, vegetables, and dried chili flakes.
Adding the soy sauce makes jjimdak a bit high in sodium, so it’s best as a treat. The dish is a tasty addition to any meal, especially Asian-themed meals.
Also spelled Jjajangmyeon, this dish is made with noodles in a black bean paste called chunjang. Other foods in the recipe include pork and vegetables.
Jjajangmyun takes around forty minutes to go from ingredients to your table. It should be served hot with napkins because it’s not only a tasty meal but a messy one as well!
Mandu is a kind of dumpling that comes in various styles. They can be boiled, fried in a pan, steamed, and so on. That’s not even getting into all the filling recipes!
The usual way to serve mandu is with a dipping sauce, or as a soup called manduguk. Depending on the filling, they will be ready in around twenty minutes.
A pancake made from flour, hotteok hides a sweet surprise. The inside of the pancake is filled with sugar, cinnamon, and powdered nuts. Hotteok is considered a dessert food and is usually eaten in winter, but you can eat it whenever you’re in the mood.
Hotteok cooks quickly and is done in around twenty to twenty-five minutes. There are also different kinds of fillings that you can use if the traditional one isn’t to your liking.
Dubu-Ganjeong is something like vegan-friendly spicy tofu. The tofu is covered in potato starch and then fried. Finally, it’s doused in a red pepper paste hot sauce.
This dish is best when served with food that will neutralize the spiciness. I hear that dairy foods and various starches will do the trick.
Korean food often includes two things: seafood and spiciness. Sometimes both, and here’s a dish that definitely has both. Chamchi-jjigae is a quick stew, ready to eat in under an hour.
Chamchi-jjigae is made from tuna, corn, and potatoes. These three ingredients are boiled in a spicy broth and typically served with rice for a delicious, if piquant, meal.
A braised chicken stew, Dakbokkeumtang is made with boneless chicken thighs. These are combined with onions and other vegetables in a chili-paste-based sauce. Did I mention it’s spicy?
Dakbokkeumtang cooks in around half an hour. There is a milder form out there which is a lot better since it won’t sear your mouth out.
Samgyeopsal is another Korean barbecue dish, made from grilled pork belly. The pork is mixed with fried kimchee, vegetables, dipping sauce, and a spicy soup.
If you want a quick meal samgyeopsal only takes around twenty-five minutes to make. The kimchee goes well with garlic for a flavorful combination that few will forget.
The Korean counterpart to Japan’s ramen noodles, only without the broth. Japchae translates to “mixed vegetables,” and the carrots, onions, mushrooms, and other vegetables make the name appropriate.
Japchae’s main ingredient is the potato starch noodles called dangmyeon. The most common English name for them is “glass noodles,” due to their delicate thinness and translucent color.
Korean culture is becoming more accessible to the western world. Some good examples of this include the rise of Korean pop, or “K-pop” music, and some famous movies like Parasite.
With that in mind, is it any wonder that the cuisine is also becoming more popular? Even the local mall in my area has a Korean restaurant now. It perfectly showcases a culture that deserves a closer look…or in this case, a closer taste.