Korean and Vietnamese Cuisine (Part 2 of 2) - Korean Food Focus
Korean cuisine shares many similarities with its neighbours Japan and China. However the Koreans have perfect the art of preserving food; it's the combination of pickled, salted or fermented dishes that makes Korean cookery unique.
Korea's national dish, Kimchi, is a spicy fermented cabbage, created by layering a mouth watering mix of pear juice, garlic, chives, chilli pepper flakes and onion, between crisp leaves of fresh cabbage. It can be eaten right away or left out of the refrigerator for a few days to start the fermentation process. Preparing Kimchi is time consuming so why not spice-up your sandwiches with a dollop of Wing Yip's pots of pickled Kimchi. Don't let the word fermented put you off, it's only the same as eating yogurt!
Many Korean dishes are based on Gochujang, a red pepper paste which looks a little like tomato ketchup. Traditionally Gochujang is a mix of red chilli, soya beans and rice which is fermented outdoors under the sun for many years in large earthen pots. Gochujang adds a spicy but also sweet twist to many meat and soup dishes.
White rice is the back bone of every Korean meal. Each person will have their own bowl of rice, a bowl of tang (soup) and a plate of kimchi. The rest of the meal is made up of many side dishes known as 'banchan' which are placed in the centre of the table to be shared.
Korea is surrounded on three sides by ocen, so natives have always enjoyed a huge variety of fish, shellfish and seaweed. Vegetables are enjoyed seasonally and are eaten at every meal. The most popular include zucchinis, squashes and peppers which are often flavoured with garlic and sesame oil or added to batter to make flat cakes.
Legumes are also a staple in the Korean diet; soybeans are used to make tofu or noodles, whilst fermented mung beans are made into a paste known as 'dwenjang' which is used as a flavouring in many dishes.
If you fancy trying your hand at Korean cuisine, why not try some of our delicious recipes?
Yangnyeom Tongdak - Korean style fried chicken
1.5kg chicken – wings or leg pieces (thighs and drumsticks separated)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep frying
6 tbsp ketchup
4 cloves garlic - minced
¼ cup hot pepper paste
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1. Rinse the chicken and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Place into a container with a lid and sprinkle over the 1 tsp of salt. Put on the lid and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Ideally you can leave them over night.
2. Pat dry the chicken and remove any excess moisture or liquid. Place into a clean bowl and add the potato starch and black pepper. Thoroughly coat the chicken pieces with the potato starch mixture and then tap together to remove any excess. Discard the remaining potato starch mixture.
3. Using an oil or sugar thermometer, heat the oil to 160°c and keep over a low flame or on a low heat setting. If when you place a wooden chopstick into the oil, small bubbles should form around it, but not bubble vigorously. Fry the chicken in batches, if necessary, for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper to remove as much excess oil as possible. Place on a wire rack whilst cooking the batches of chicken.
4. Whilst the chicken is cooking, make the sauce by first heating the 1 tbsp vegetable oil and frying the garlic over a low heat until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and mix well. Let the sauce boil for a minute and thicken. Turn the heat off and keep warm until ready to serve.
5. When ready to serve, increase the temperature of the oil to 190°c and top up with oil if necessary. When a wooden chopstick is placed into the oil, the small bubbles should boil fairly vigorously around it. Remember to let the oil get back up to temperature if adding more into the pan. Add all of the chicken back to the pan and fry again for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
6. Drain the excess oil off of the chicken as much as possible and then add to the pan with the sauce. Turn the heat onto high and gently turn the chicken pieces in the sauce until evenly coated. Serve immediately so that the chicken does not lose its crispiness. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.