Food Around the World: Korean

Dixon, Deyprie

Korean food is one of the healthiest types of food on earth, with an emphasis on vegetables, different meats cooked without much oil, and a near obsession with the fermented vegetable kimchi, which can be an acquired taste by foreigners. 

 

Much of the food that exists in Korea and the customs surrounding it have come from royal cuisine and complex customs of the ancient court. Korean food is a study with careful thought given to temperature, spiciness, colour, and texture, along with the considered presentation. Starting with the traditional bowl of rice and soup, the main meal is built around countless shared dishes selected to complement each other. The number of side dishes varies from two to a dozen or more, but everyday meals will include at least a few. All dishes are served at once to share.

Simple Potato Pancake

Gamjajeon 감자전

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 large potato (8 ounces), peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup grated onion
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup potato starch (or substitute with tapioca starch)
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil (or vegetable oil)

For dipping sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (or vinegar)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

Directions

  1. To make the dipping sauce, combine soy sauce, lime juice, green onion, onion, jalapeno pepper, and sugar in a small bowl and mix it together until the sugar is melted. Set aside.
  2. Put the grated potato and onion in a bowl. Add salt, potato starch and mix it together.
  3. Heat up a 9 to 12 inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons grape seed oil and swirl the pan around to coat it evenly. 
  5. Cook a few minutes until the bottom of the pancake turns crispy and a light golden brown.
  6. Turn it over with a spatula or flip it. Add the rest of the grape seed oil to the edge of the pancake. Shake the pan and tilt it so that oil spreads underneath the pancake. Let it cook until the bottom of the pancake turns golden brown.
  7. Keep turning it over and cooking until both sides are crispy and light golden brown, usually about 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer it on a plate and serve hot with the sauce.