Novice To Korean Food? We Have A Dummies Guide To Identifying Popular Korean Dishes And How To Make Them At Home

Explore each dish's unique ingredients and preparation methods.

by Mallika Khurana
Novice To Korean Food? We Have A Dummies Guide To Identifying Popular Korean Dishes And How To Make Them At Home

The craze for Korean food in India has risen parallel to the popularity of Korean shows and dramas. As fans binge-watch their favourite K-dramas, they are often tempted by the delicious and visually appealing dishes featured in the shows. The tantalising sight of sizzling meat, vibrant bowls of mixed rice, and mouth-watering stews has sparked a keen interest in authentic Korean cuisine. However, while we all love to try out these authentic dishes, many of us get confused by the unfamiliar names and are clueless about what is actually in each dish. But fear not; with this guide, that confusion is going to change. Here’s all you need to know to identify and make these eight popular Korean dishes right in your home.

A Guide To Popular Korean Dishes

1. Kimchi

Kimchi is Korea’s most iconic dish, a spicy and tangy fermented cabbage (often napa cabbage) that embodies Korea’s love affair with fermentation. It’s seasoned with garlic, ginger, Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru), fish sauce, and sometimes brined shrimp, resulting in a complex umami flavour profile.

To make traditional kimchi, watch this recipe by Chef Kunal Kapur and try it at home.

2. Bibimbap

Bibimbap translates to “mixed rice,” and it’s a colourful dish that features a bowl of steamed rice topped with various sautéed vegetables, marinated meat, a sunny-side-up egg, and gochujang (Korean chilli paste). The ingredients are artfully arranged and mixed together just before eating.

Learn to make bibimbap with this recipe by Rajshri Food.

3. Bulgogi

Bulgogi, meaning “fire meat,” is a marinated b**f dish that’s sweet, savoury, and slightly smoky. The thinly sliced meat is marinated in a blend of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and pear juice. It’s often grilled or stir-fried and served with rice or wrapped in lettuce leaves with ssamjang (a spicy paste).

Craving it right now? Learn how to make bulgogi at home with this recipe by Maricel’s Recipes.

4. Japchae

Japchae is a stir-fried noodle dish made from sweet potato starch noodles, which are clear, chewy, and naturally gluten-free. Mixed with a colourful array of vegetables like spinach, carrots, and mushrooms, and occasionally with meat, it’s seasoned with soy sauce, and sesame oil, and sweetened with sugar.

Make japchae with this easy tutorial by The Korean Vegan.

Also Read: Check Out 18 Irresistible New Menus In Mumbai, Delhi, And More Cities This Month

5. Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki is a popular street food dish consisting of chewy rice cakes cooked in a spicy-sweet gochujang-based sauce. It often includes fish cakes and boiled eggs, creating a dish that’s both fiery and comforting, with a delightful chewiness from the rice cakes.

Learn to make tteokbokki with this recipe from Aaron and Claire.

6. Samgyeopsal

Samgyeopsal refers to grilled pork belly, a beloved Korean BBQ staple. The pork is grilled at the table, and then eaten and wrapped in lettuce leaves with raw garlic, green chillies, and ssamjang (a thick, spicy paste). It’s a social dish enjoyed by friends and family, perfect for gatherings.

With this amazing recipe from Jia Choi, you can make samgyeopsal at home.

7. Sundubu-Jjigae

Sundubu-jjigae is a spicy stew made with silky, soft tofu (sundubu) in a flavorful broth. It often includes ingredients like seafood, pork, or kimchi, along with vegetables and a spicy seasoning made from gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes) and gochujang (Korean chilli paste). It’s served piping hot, often in a stone pot.

Make sundubu-jjigae at home with this tutorial from Aaron and Claire.

8. Kimchi Jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae is a comforting stew made with aged kimchi, pork (or tuna), tofu, and vegetables. The aged kimchi gives this stew a tangy, robust flavour that’s deeply satisfying. It’s a popular dish in Korean homes, enjoyed year-round but especially cherished during the colder months.

Learn to cook kimchi jigae at home with this recipe from Munchies.

With these details, you can now explore and enjoy the taste of Korea right from your own kitchen!

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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