Korean Seasonings (양념 Yang nyeom )

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Korean Soy Bean Paste (Dwenjang/Deonjang 된장)It’s only been a few days since my arrival in Seoul but I just couldn’t wait any longer to post–

The last couple months have been a very exhausting but also a very meaningful time. I went through every single item (including 5 cans of WD40′s – don’t ask me why we have so many -and 10 pairs of tweezers!!!!) that we had in the house and so many things brought back all the wonderful memories we had in the US. Leaving was really sad but it was also a catharsis for me. There was a sense of freedom and lightness that came over me as I kept purging away…

And now.. I have to start a whole new life here – including a whole new set of seasonings for cooking. So I started writing down a list and then thought that this list may be useful to many of you. So here it is. This is a minimal list of seasonings and condiments that I feel are must-haves if you are going to cook Korean food.

I have organized the list based on Escoffier’s categorization of seasoning and condiments: (ones in italics are extra and not a ‘must-have’)

Seasonings (양념 Yang nyeom )

Saline Seasonings

  • Salt (소금 Sohkeum) – Korean sea salt is best. (see my K Ingredients page)

Acid Seasonings

  • Vinegar (식초 Shikcho) – Brown Rice Vinegar (현미식초 Hyunmee Shikcho)
    • Persimmon Vinegar (감식초 Kaamshikcho )
    • Apple Vinegar (사과식초 Saakwashikcho)

Hot Seasonings

  • Red chili powder (고추가루 Gochukaroo)
  • Ground black pepper (후추가루 Hoochookaroo)
  • Fresh green chili pepper (풋고추 Putgochoo)
  • Dried Red chili pepper (홍고추 Hong gochoo)

Saccharine Seasonings

  • Sugar (설탕 Seoltang)
  • Rice Malt Syrup (조청 Jochung) – substitute corn syrup or maple syrup
  • Honey (꿀 Kkul)
  • Plum syrup/extract (매실청 Maesilchung) – this syrup was not used much traditionally but is now very popular. Both my mother-in-law and mother gave me a bottle so you can imagine how popular it is now.

Condiments

The pungents

  • Garlic (마늘 Maaneul), ginger (생강 Saengkang), onions(양파 Yangpa), chives (부추 Boochoo), green onions ( 파 Pa )

Hot condiments (Sauces and Wines)

  • Soy sauce (간장 Kanjang) – see my K Ingredients page
    • Soup soy sauce (국간장 Kook kanjang aka 조선간장 Chosun Kanjang)
    • Dark soy sauce (진간장 Jin Kanjang)
  • Soy bean paste (된장 Dwenjang/Doenjang)
  • Red pepper paste (고추장 Gochujang)
  • Yellow mustard (겨자 Gyeoja) aka Oriental yellow mustard
  • Rice wine or Mirin (미린)
  • Fermented Shrimp (새우젓 Saewoo jeot) -see my K ingredients page
  • Fermented Anchovy Sauce (멸치액젓 Myulchi-aek-jeot)

Fatty Substances

  • Sesame oil (참기름 Chaamkireum)
  • Vegetable oil (식용유 Shik yong yu)

Additionally, following are garnishes that are often used to add finishing flavors and decoration:

  • Sesame seeds (깨 Kkae)
  • Perilla leaves (깻잎 Kkaetnip) – my favorite!!
  • Crown dasises (쑥갓 Ssukkat)
  • Chives (부추 Buchu)
  • Water parsely/water dropwort (미나리 Minari) – aka Japanese parsely
  • Pine nuts (잣 Jaat)
  • Jujube (대추 Daechoo)
  • Gingko Nuts (은행 Eunhang)
  • Roasted Sea Laver (김 Keem) – substitute Nori

Below is a photo of seasonings and some condiments that I was able to get so far.

Korean Seasonings and Condiments (Yang nyeom)

Korean Seasonings and Condiments (Yang nyeom)

From top, left to right -

1st row – dark soy sauce, red chili powder, rice malt syrup, red pepper paste

2nd row – salt, sesame seeds, fermented shrimp, mirin, brown rice vinegar

3rd row – soup soy sauce, sesame oil, plum syrup, soy bean paste

With these seasonings and condiments, you should be able to cook almost every Korean recipe. Hopefully I did not forget anything… ;)

PS. If you want to know what brands I like – 풀무원 Pulmuone, 오뚜기 Ottogi and CJ are all good brands in general. 샘표 Sampyo has been making soy sauce for many years…and 해찬들 Haechandeul makes good 고추장 gochujang.

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