Banchan

banchan

Article by Gil "hannaone"
© Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.

Image by hannaone: Mul Naengmyeon with Buckwheat Noodles

반찬 | banchan | side dish

Banchan, the array of side dishes that accompany Korean meals, is a vibrant representation of Korea's rich culinary tradition. From the tangy and spicy kick of various kimchi to the earthy flavors of namul (seasoned vegetables), and from the savory bites of jeon (pan-fried delicacies) to the comforting warmth of jjim (steamed dishes), banchan is a celebration of taste and tradition, meant to be shared and savored by all at the table. Each category of banchan brings its own unique flavor and texture, creating a harmonious balance with the main dishes and providing an immersive dining experience.
These small yet flavorful dishes are more than just accompaniments; they are a testament to Korea's history and cultural evolution.

The practice of serving banchan probably began during the Three Kingdoms period when the major Kingdoms adopted Buddhism as state religion, and accepted Buddhist vegetarianism. This led to the development of various cooking techniques and presentations, especially in the royal courts. Even after the reintroduction of meat following the Mongol invasions, the vegetarian roots of Korean cuisine remained influential, shaping the diverse and colorful banchan selections found in Korean dining today.

Banchan is an essential part of the dining experience. Each category of banchan brings its own unique flavors and textures to the table.
Kimchi, perhaps the most famous banchan, is a fermented dish typically made with cabbage and a variety of seasonings, offering a tangy and sometimes spicy kick.
Namul refers to seasoned vegetable dishes, often lightly sautéed or steamed, making them a refreshing counterpart to heavier dishes.
Bokkeum includes stir-fried dishes that can be either wet, with a sauce, or dry, focusing on the natural flavors of the ingredients.
Jorim dishes are simmered in a seasoned broth, infusing the ingredients with a deep, savory taste.
Jjim refers to steamed dishes, which are usually tender and subtly flavored.
Lastly, Jeon encompasses a range of pan-fried items, from vegetables to seafood, coated in a light batter and cooked to a delightful crispness.
Together, these banchan categories create a harmonious blend of tastes and textures that define Korean cuisine.

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Kimchi

김치

Napa Cabbage Kimchi is made with Napa Cabbage, Korean Radish, green onions, fish sauce, garlic, salt, ginger, ground red chili peppers, and possibly a couple other seasonings. 

Hobak Jeon

호박전             

Hobak Jeon is made from fresh zucchini, eggs, salt, and green onions. 

Oi Jangajji

오이 장아찌

Made with fresh cucumbers, shredded carrot, garlic, salt, water, and vinegar. 

Jangajji

장아찌

Made from a mix of vegetables (including cucumber, chayote, calabacita mexicana, onions, celery, garlic, jalapeno, and sometimes others), soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and water.

Kkakdugi

깍두기           

This radish kimchi is made from Korean Radish, red pepper powder, green onion, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, and salt. 

Ojingeochae Muchim

오징어채 무침

This spice candied dried squid dish is made from dried squid strips, sugar/brown sugar and/or rice syrup, ground red chili pepper. salt, sesame oil, and garlic. .

Gyeran malyee

계란 말이

A Korean style rolled omelet made with eggs, green onion, carrot, garlic, and salt. 

Odeng

오뎅             

Stir fried fishcake (flour and ground fish) with carrot, hot green chili pepper, salt, soy sauce, corn syrup/rice syrup and/or sugar/brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and pepper. 

Oi Kimchi

오이 김치

Made with fresh cucumbers, green onion, red chili powder, garlic, salt, fish sauce, and Asian chives.

Mu Jangajji

무 장아찌

Made with fresh Korean radish, salt, water, vinegar, sugar, and garlic.

Gyeran Mandu

계란 만두            

Made with eggs, carrot, daengmyeon (sweet potato noodle), onion, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, and salt. 

Kong Namul

숙주나물

Made with fresh Soy Bean Sprouts, chili pepper flakes, green onion, sesame oil, and salt.

Dorajji Namul

도라지 나물

Made from Korean bellflower root, carrot, green onion, sesame seed, salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil. 

Sukju Namul

숙주나물          

Mung bean sprout salad is made from fresh mung bean sprouts, green onion, sesame oil, salt, and sesame seed. A second version is made from mung bean sprouts, green onion, carrot, salt, and sesame seeds.

Gamja Bokkeum

감자볶음

Shredded stir fried potatoes made from fresh potato, salt, carrot, and onion. Stir fried in soybean oil.

Myeolchi Bokkeum

멸치볶음

Stir fried Anchovy dish made from anchovies, rice or corn syrup, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, sesame seed, and crushed peanut, walnut, or pecan. 

Gyeran Jeon

계란전            

Egg Pancake is made from  eggs, salt, carrot, onion, imitation crab, and green onions. 

Yeongeun Jorim

연근조림

Candied lotus root made with sliced lotus root, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice or corn syrup, brown sugar, garlic,  water, and vinegar. 

Twiggim (Yachae Twiggim)

야채튀김

Battered and Fried Vegetables. Made from assorted vegetables (may include any of; carrot, onion, green onion, zucchini, potato, cabbage, garlic, chives, and sometimes others).

Gamja Saelleodeu

감자 샐러드         

Gamja Saelleodeu is a Korean riff on the American Potato Salad. Made from potatoes, apples, carrot, onion, garlic, egg, cucumber, and dressing.

Mumallaengi Muchim

무말랭이 무침

Spicy Seasoned Radish Strips. Made from fresh Korean radish (Mu) cut into strips and dried.
Seasoned with red chili pepper powder, rice syrup, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil.

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