Korean Banchan

     OK, so I've been trying to decide about the banchan - what to cook. I thought to make a meal of these side dishes. I made a grilled beef dish that I could wrap in lettuce leaves with sliced garlic and ssamjang. Rice and kimchee, of course. The tofu dish I wanted to try is nixed because my tofu was bad - unopened carton was all poofy and I was afraid to eat it.  I  made a bean dish and a filled and rolled "crepe" with a spicy dipping sauce. 'Desert' is an unusual salad. I don't know if this would qualify as a "typical" Korean meal, but I like the idea of several sides making a meal. Somehow this idea sounds better with "ethnic" foods than it does with an american meal of vegetable sides and salad!
     Here are the recipes I chose:
) Braised beef with peppers
)Black soybeans
)Spicy dipping sauce
)Korean pancake with chicken
)Salad with apples, frozen grapes and nuts
)ssam jang

For the Kimchee recipe I used, see post from 12-10-09
carla4 145

carla4 138

                                       Braised Beef with Peppers
serves 8 as banchan (side dish)

1# beef, cut in to pieces the size of stew meat
4c water
1c soy sauce - regular or lite salt
1/4c sugar
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
hot chili peppers to taste

Simmer all ingredients until tender - about 11/2 hours.
Shred meat and serve in the broth.
**NOTE: if made with regular soy sauce, this is very salty. I don't care for really salty foods, so I used lite soy sauce. Shoyu may also be an option. I think I might add just a bit of sesame oil to meat and serve with a bare minimum of broth.
*** This dish can be served with rice and the meat broth. I initially  was going to  wrap this in lettuce leaves, but did not, in the end. Instead, I mixed a little of the ssam jang into the meat and broth and that was GREAT. I really liked those flavors together and would use this as a main meat course in future.
                                      Ssam Jang
This condiment is highly variable. This is the version I made:

2T miso (Japanese soybean paste)
1/4c sriracha - should be a Korean chili paste, but can't be found in my neck of the woods, so I substituted
             recipe - see post12-27-09 for recipe.
(additional pepper, minced, to taste)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4c minced onion, green onions, chives, shallots - your choice
1T sesame oil
1T soy sauce
(water to thin, if needed)
1/2tsp sugar
1tsp mirin

Mix all ingredients and allow to sit at least 1 hour.
(I liked the flavors here - not sure I would try this recipe with Korean chili paste.)

                                       Black Soybeans
serves 4
1c black soybeans, canned goes much faster than soaking beans if you can find them. Canned beans can                            be  found at asian groceries or at some health food stores.
1c water
1/2 soy sauce - again, I prefer lite
1/2c sugar
1T sesame oil

Canned beans are pretty tender. I  heated beans in water, then added other ingredients and heated through at a simmer until heated through.

                                       Korean Pancake with Chicken
should give 2-3 pancakes

1/2c flour
1/2c water
1/4tsp salt
11/2T mirin (Japanese cooking wine that is sweet. Asian groceries and health food stores carry it)
1/2tsp soy sauce
1/2tsp sesame oil
1/4# chicken cut into matchsticks
1/2 bell pepper - choose all green or mix colors
1/4c shredded cabbage - I had regular cabbage, but use Napa if available

Marinate chicken in soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin for at least 30 minutes.

Mix flour, water, and salt together for the pancakes. Most recipes say to make a pancake 3-4 inches in diameter. I don't have the patience to cook that many, nor roll that many. I made mine about 6inches in diameter. Be sure they are as thin as crepes would be. They will cook fast, don't let them brown too much.

Saute vegetables in a bit of oil. Salt can be added if you wish. I think my dipping sauce is salty enough to allow me NOT to add salt here. Cook each vegetable separately until crisp-tender.

Cook chicken through.

Place a few veggies and some chicken on a pancake, roll tightly, and dip in dipping sauce (recipe follows)
(A very good recipe worthy of being a main meat course).
                                      Spicy Dipping Sauce

1/3c soy sauce
1/3 c rice wine vinegar--- I don't care for a really vinegery flavor - I used a tad less than 1/4c here.
1T sesame oil
chili pepper flakes to taste
1T scallions - minced onions will substitute
1tsp minced garlic
1/2tsp sugar - I add this to offset the vinegar

Mix all together and serve.

Can also be used for fried dishes like tempura, dumplings, or even veggies.

And is you have room for a salad that may also stand in for desert,
                                      Salad with Apples, Grapes and Nuts
serves 4  Thank you Naomi Imatome-Yun

6c mesclun greens
1 apple, washed and sliced
1/2c frozen grapes, sliced in half. (Need not be frozen)
 1/2c nuts of your choice
2 scallions, green only, chopped
Korean Chili Say Salad Dressing (follows)

Make dressing and set aside.

Toss remaining ingredients, except scallions, with dressing.

 Garnish with scallions.                                      

                                           Korean Chili Say Salad Dressing

1/4c soy sauce
3T rice vinegar
4T water
3T sesame oil
(3T Korean chili powder) - I will have to search for this - I substituted red chili flakes
crushed sesame seed - optional

Whisk all ingredients together. Refrigerate until use.

There it is! Not really that much work. I thought the flavors went well together. I feel guilty about the amount of salt, though. These dishes really are heavy on the soy sauce.Using lite soy sauce helps, but I wonder if I could cut back on the amount of soy sauce without sacrificing flavor.  I think, for myself, next time I would try to find banchan that are not so dependent on soy sauce for flavor. I'll use this as an opportunity to look further into the world of Korean cooking.