On our “Emily Recommends” series, we introduce our recommended cooking techniques, tricks, writers, bloggers, YouTubers, ingredients, and more every Thursday! This week, we wanted to introduce 7 Quick and Easy Banchan Recipes You Need to try. Today is Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving, so what better time is there to introduce different delicious banchan you can make quickly and easily?
Throughout this week, we started preparing for Halloween in our typical “over-the-top” fashion by decorating our front porch like an old, haunted, and condemned building. At the same time, we have been observing and celebrating another holiday, Chuseok, with the Korean side of our family. In preparation for Chuseok, we introduced Korean food bloggers we love in our last week’s “Emily Recommends” post. This week, we wanted to introduce some quick and easy banchan for all of you Korean food lovers out there! Some are our own recipes and others are favorites from other food bloggers.
“Banchan” refers to the different side dishes available when eating a Korean meal. Every Korean meal has AT LEAST one banchan (typically kimchi when eating simply). If you are interested in learning about Korean cooking, these quick, easy, and beginner-friendly banchan recipes are perfect for you. All of these recipes take 30 minutes or less to make (though it is important to note that some recipes require you to pickle or marinate for a few days or weeks).
Let us know if you try any recipes on our list or have any recommendations for us to try!
Happy Chuseok everyone! 추석 잘 보내세요!
Our 7 Favorite Quick and Easy Banchan Recipes:
Below is the list of our 7 favorite quick and easy banchan recipes.
1. Korean Pickled Garlic (Maneul Jangajji)
Maneul Jangajji, Korean pickled garlic, is incredibly addictive. Chewy in texture, it is one of those dishes that have a fun mouth feel. When biting down, the garlic still maintains that crunchy snap even after the pickling process. Before you know it, you will be absent-mindedly popping this banchan into your mouth.
Though the garlic flavor slightly dulls, maneul jangajji still maintains its deliciously pungent spice. The pickling liquid, made from soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar, adds a layer of sweetness and saltiness that mingles together in harmony.
This recipe is quick to initially make, but you need to prepare it a few weeks in advance before you can dig in. Check out our version of this dish in the links below!
2. Korean Pan-Fried Tofu (Tofu Gui)
Koreans eat A LOT of tofu. Before learning to make Korean food, I thought tofu was bland and boring. Now, I know that tofu is very versatile. It can entirely change in texture and flavor based on how you cook it, and what you cook it with.
Korean pan-fried tofu is a bit crunchy on the outside while maintaining the soft center. When pan-frying tofu, you can fry it up in so many different ways (in a sauce, with kimchi, with an egg coating, etc.), but the most basic method is tofu pan-fried with a little oil. Nothing fancy, but incredibly delicious. If you top it with a soy sauce-based sauce, some green onions, sesame seeds, and hot peppers, you will have a plant-based side dish all of your vegan and vegetarian friends can enjoy!
Note: Pan-fried tofu can be a main dish all on its own!!!
We recommend checking out Future Neighbor’s YouTube channel for their Korean pan-fried tofu recipe. They have a ton of recipes you can look through and enjoy.
3. Korean Steamed Eggs (Gyeranjjim)
Korean steamed eggs are fluffy and creamy. Similar in look and texture to a souffle, this recipe is made from any type of broth and eggs whipped together. Gyeranjjim is a savory dish that pairs well with just about anything and everything as it is mild and light in flavor.
Check out our version of this dish in the links below!
4. Korean Blanched Spinach (Sigeumchi Namul)
By definition, blanching should only last a few seconds, making this the quickest recipe on the list. In Korea, after blanching spinach, people drain and squeeze out all the excess water before mixing it with a sauce. Sometimes the sauce can be rather plain (a drizzle of sesame oil), or slightly sweet (soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, etc.). Other times, it can be spicy (adding some gochujang). It entirely depends on who is cooking the dish!
5. Perilla Leaves Pickled in Soy Sauce (Kkaetnip Jangajji)
Korean pickled perilla leaves are a great beginner recipe for those starting to look into the Korean fermentation and pickling processes. Though this recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, it needs to be set aside for a few months to get perfectly pickled!
Korean perilla leaves pickled in soy sauce is a mixture of a tangy sweetness from the sauce and a spiciness from the leaf (if you have never tried perilla before, the leaf has a natural and surprising heat/kick to it). I HIGHLY recommend eating this dish with something fatty like Korean samgyeopsal. It will blow you away.
For this recipe, we recommend you check out Kimchimari’s page.
6. Korean Marinated Eggs (Mayak Gyeran)
Mayak gyeran are typically creamy soft-boiled eggs marinated overnight in a tangy soy-based sauce. You can boil the eggs based on your preference (soft, medium, hard), but I recommend trying Cookeru’s soft-boiled version before mixing it up. They are amazing! The eggs are so quick and simple to make the night before. Then, when you are ready to eat, slice open the eggs and eat all on their own or over a bed of rice. The bursting creamy yolk blends with the soy-based sauce magically!
We recommend Cookeru’s version of this dish. Check out her blog below!
7. Stir-Fried Cucumbers (Oi Bokkeum)
Though it may be a strange concept to westerners, stir-frying cucumbers are delicious! Hey, if you can pickle cucumbers, why not cook them? The stir-frying method releases a beautiful sweetness in the cucumbers.
Important note: Not all types of cucumber work for this dish. You should look for a thin-skinned cucumber. The Korean and Persian cucumbers work wonderfully. If you can’t find those, you can use an English cucumber.
For this recipe, I recommend “Korean Bapsang.” Check out the recipe and her blog below!
What are Your Favorite Quick and Easy Banchan Recipes?
Let us know if you like any of these quick and easy banchan. Do you have any you love that we didn’t recommend? Let us know in the comments below!
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