Five Korean Spices You Need to Know

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I love Korean cuisine

I recently became very interested in Korean cuisine. They have many healthy and delicious recipes I’d like to try. Basically, Korean cuisine is based upon rice, soups, vegetables and meats. They can eat rice three times a day like me, so there wouldn’t be a lot of adaptation for me.

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Korean cuisine is rich in taste. It could be spicy and sour like Kimchi, sweet and sour like ‘Tangsu-yuk'(sweet and sour pork) or salty and savory like ‘Odeng’ (fish cakes). Their cooking methods are quite simple and similar with Chinese cooking methods. You can find many Korean cooking tutorials all over internet. If you’d like to try to cook it yourself, you should know these Korean spices or condiments :

Five Korean Spices You Need to Know, Seekyt

1. The three best friends : Ganjang-Doenjang-Gochujang

a. Ganjang (??) is soy sauce. There are many different types of soy sauce. They have unique flavors, salty with a bit sweet. Indonesian people call it ‘Kecap’
b. Doenjang (??) is fermented soy bean paste. Asian people have their own style of fermented soy bean. Korean people use to make their own doenjang / dwenjang. They add doenjang in a stew, eat it raw with vegetables and many more. It’s Miso in Japanese cuisine and Indonesian call it : ‘Taoco’
c. Gochujang (???) is hot pepper paste. Gochujang is made from red chili powder mixed with fermented soybean powder or mejugaru, salt, sweet rice flour, rice syrup and water. I don’t think I can find the same condiment in my country. We just have the hot tomato sauce.

2. Sesame Oil

Chamgireum (???) or sesame oil is a must in most Korean dishes. They can just eat steamed rice, kimchi and sesame oil for breakfast. My mom also loves sesame oil so much. She can add it in most of her Chinese dishes. Korean sesame oil has nutty flavor.

3. Red hot pepper

Dried red hot pepper or Gochu (??) has a common usage in Korean cuisine. You can find dried red hot pepper in Chinese cuisine too, like in Chicken Kung Pao recipe. It’s ‘Cabe merah kering’ in my language.

4. Black bean paste

Black bean paste or Chunjang (??) is the main ingredient of Jajang-myeon (???) or noodle with black bean paste. Chunjang is made from fermented soybean (soybean is fermented with flour and salt) and caramel food color.

5. Garlic, ginger and onion

You can not avoid those spices if you want to try cooking some Korean dishes. Garlic is good to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Ginger is great for cold while onions are known as natural cough remedy.

I hope you will more familiar with Korean spices and condiments now. Have a great time cooking!

Picture credit : Wikimedia commons/

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Five Korean Spices You Need to Know, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.