Growing up in a Korean household, I never went hungry. There was always some kind of banchan (side dishes) and bab (rice) in the fridge. Some days we would find an assortment of banchan’s that included my favourite, Jangjorim – braised beef soaked in sweet & salty soy sauce and other days it was just kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) and kim (roasted seaweed). As long as there was fresh cooked rice available, the banchans were in the fridge for us to whip out whenever we were hungry. The rice cooker was always on as we had rice with our meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Find it odd to have rice and side dishes for breakfast? In Korea, this is the norm as Koreans like to have a hearty breakfast with their rice, soup and side dishes. Apparently having a cup of coffee and a donut is not as satisfying. Despite growing up abroad, my parents were very traditional and raised us very Korean. (Later on, they loosened up a bit but by then I was over 21!) This meant sending us to the dreaded Korean school every Saturday morning, stressing the importance of the mother tongue and banned the use of English at home. Now that I am older and “wiser”, I am so grateful that they “forced” us to go. Although my Korean is not perfect, I appreciate that i can somewhat understand, read and write my language. Funny how i am applying the same principle to my kids now. When they are old enough, straight to Korean school they will go! (They will hate me for it, but Im sure they will thank me later as i did with my parents…hehe). Anyway, I wanted to start practicing my banchan skills so that later on my kids (including my husband, the other kid), can also grab banchan from the fridge and feed themselves when they can’t wait for meal times. Less work for this mom, yay!
Unfortunately, my mom is continents away to physically teach me so i had to katalk (korean messenger) to get her recipe instructions as well as google some resources to assist me in this challenge. My moms recipe was catered more for toddler/baby taste buds hence omitting a lot of the msg, sugar, etc.. Since the side dishes will be eaten by myself and hubs and i wanted more flavour, I looked into other cooking websites. There were several that i checked out but I liked the layout and detail oriented instructions at crazykoreancooking the most. You can check out their website here – http://crazykoreancooking.com as I used them for reference.
Initially, i wanted to make four to five banchans but after cooking up a storm all day, i only produced three. The most time consuming dish was the jangjorim. This seriously took all day just to make one lb of beef flank that will probably be gobbled up by my husband in 15 minutes. —.—; At least it was well appreciated. 🙂
I wont go into too much detail on the recipe and instructions of how to make the three banchans as you can refer to http://crazykoreancooking.com for a step by step breakdown. I must say that I really applaud recipe bloggers! Not only do you have to cook the food that you are blogging about but you have to take pictures of everything – from the ingredients to the step by step process and after you’ve finished cooking, cleaning and placing your dish to look visually appealing, you have to write about the whole process and finally edit your draft! That is a LOT of work. I couldn’t even blog about the banchans i made the day of as i was too exhausted from cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids! Anyway, this is my first attempt at trying these recipes and i am proud to say that they all turned out quite good! Eh-hem, superstar housewife right here. ^.^ (Thank you to my mom and crazykoreancooking for the help as well!)
So the first banchan i made is called Jangjorim – braised beef boiled in sweet & salty soy sauce. My favourite and a popular side dish for many koreans as we love our meat! If you find this side dish at a Korean restaurant then you’ve hit the Lotto because most restaurants don’t usually offer it as it is very time consuming to make.
I bought beef flank for this but you can also use beef brisket. I soaked it in water for about 5 minutes to get some of the red blood out but you can leave it in for longer if you want to completely strip the blood out.
Then i combined green onion, onion, radish, garlic, mirin and beef in a pot of water bringing it to a full boil for about 30 minutes.
In another pot, i combined soy sauce, brown sugar, green chili and garlic and added about 5 cups of the broth from the other pot. Dump the beef in the soy sauce pot and boil in low heat for another 30 minutes.
You can also separately hard boil some eggs and add it to sauce. Shred the beef in small strips and add it back to the sauce. I let the peeled eggs and beef sit in the sauce until it has cooled down.
Tada ~ Your finally product! I put it in a jar and sealed it so i can store it in my fridge for about a week (Either the jar is too big or i should have bought two lbs instead of one).
For more details, you can find the full recipe here – http://crazykoreancooking.com/recipe/braised-beef-jangjorim.
The next banchan i made is called Myulchi Bbokgeum (anchovy stirfry). You will often find this side dish at most Korean restaurants as it is easy and quick to make and rich in calcium. I bought the “jan” myulchi which are tiny anchovies as it is easier for my toddler to eat. You can find the recipe here – http://crazykoreancooking.com/recipe/panfried-anchovies.
The last banchan i made is called Gajinamul (steamed eggplant) but i improvised and added cauldiflower for more veggie options so that i can feed my toddler more vegetables in her diet. You can find the recipe here – http://crazykoreancooking.com/recipe/eggplant-gaji-namul.
Making these banchan’s was a lot of work! I don’t know how Korean moms do it. It is definitely easier to just buy premade banchans from Korean grocery stores such as Hmart but having tasted the difference between homemade and store bought, homemade is definitely a lot fresher and you can make more to store away so give it a try! Thanks for reading.