General Nerdery: Korean Banchan

I love Korean food, so you’ll probably see food posts that feature Korean food fairly often here, haha. My favorite place to find recipes is Maangchi’s website (and her YouTube videos are somehow very soothing and joyful to watch too!)

Today I’d like to share three of my favorite banchan recipes with you! Banchan are Korean side dishes served along with rice. Maangchi says “Banchan often translated as ‘side dishes’ are an essential part of any Korean meal. They are not just decoration or appetizers: they are the meal, along with soup and rice.” Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article on banchan if you’d like to learn more.

Sesame Broccoli

The way I make sesame broccoli banchan is based on this recipe from Korean Bapsang. I make this a little easier to make quickly by using frozen broccoli!

My recipe:

  • Microwave bag of frozen broccoli for the lower range of time. (Ex. if the instruction say cook on high for 4-5 minutes, cook for 4 minutes.)
  • Dump cooked broccoli in strainer and rinse with cold water until cooled.
  • Squeeze gently to remove excess water and place into a bowl with 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 Tbsp roasted or black sesame seeds (crushed), and salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp). Mix well and serve!

Segeumchi Namul (Seasoned Spinach)

I can’t remember where I first found this recipe, and I don’t think I’ve found any recipe that’s exactly this ratio of seasonings again. The beautiful thing about so many of these side dishes is that you can really customize and season to taste. Like it spicy? Add more gochugaru or gochujang! I tend to go heavy with the sesame oil because I love it.

My recipe:

  • In a pot of boiling water, blanch 8 oz spinach for 30 seconds. Pour into strainer and run under cold water until cooled.
  • Squeeze gently to remove water. I squeeze a baseball sized amount between both hands a few times, and then squeeze it in a tea towel or paper towels another few times until there’s very little water left.
  • Place squeezed, blanched spinach on cutting board and cut into bit sized pieces. I like to roll it into sort of a log and cut it in quarters. You can also skip this step if you don’t mind larger pieces!
  • Place spinach in a bowl. Mix in 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1 chopped green onion, and salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp). Enjoy!

Spicy Stir-Fried Fish Cake (Eomuk Bokkeum)

I use Maangchi’s recipe and it’s perfection. For this batch, I used store-bought pre-fried fish cakes that came in little loaves and sliced them thinly, and it turned out wonderfully. Maangchi also has a recipe to make your own fish cakes if you’re feeling very adventurous! That’s a little too high skill level for me, though, so I’ll continue using pre-made frozen fish cakes!

Some other banchan recipes I love:

Some others I want to try:

Let me know which banchan you think I should try making next! I’ll come back and tell you about it. 🙂 I only wish I could really share this tasty food with you!

2 thoughts on “General Nerdery: Korean Banchan

    1. It’s really good! I hope you do make it and love it. The recipe has levels for how spicy – I made mine with the lesser amount of gochugaru (hot pepper flakes) and will make it a bit spicier next time, haha.


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