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8 essential ingredients to buy at the Korean supermarket

The thrill of trying to prepare recipes belonging to a culinary tradition different from ours reaches its maximum degree when it comes to Asian cuisineespecially that Korean, characterized by a large number of dishes and recipes that have ingredients that are often far removed from our habits. The perfect success of Korean dishes depends on the good use of condiments and spices, to be chosen with care in order to maintain a perfect balance of flavours. For this reason, making an Italian shopping list can be difficult (if not impossible) when complex dishes such as bibimbap or the doenjang-jjigae Koreans. So, how to navigate the aisles of a korean supermarket buy everything you need without panicking? Here is a list of 8 things to absolutely buy when you want to discover Korean cuisine.

  1. Gochujang. One of the most used condiments in Korean cuisine is undoubtedly the gochujang, a fermented and spicy sauce made from red pepper, sticky rice, meju (fermented soy) and barley malt salty and sweet at the same time. It is used as a condiment for many dishes but it is essential for seasoning soups, stews And first courses of noodles.
  2. Daenjang. Another one seasoning what certainly cannot be missing in the pantry of a Korean cook is the daenjanga fermented soybean paste rich in umami and used as a main ingredient in doenjang-jjigaethe famous soup from which it takes its name. But soybean paste is also used in many other recipes: to flavor vegetable wrapped rice rolls (the ssambap) or as a condiment in the preparation of stewed meat. And, again, to season the vegetables used in the creation of traditional Korean dishes, such as bibimbap and the bulgogi.
  3. Kochukaru. Spicy notes are a constant in Korean cuisine. Therefore, features certainly cannot be missing chili flakes with a consistency halfway between that of normal flakes and that of powder. Mainly used in the preparation of Kimchithe kochukaru it is also an essential spice in the preparation of soups and stews, such as sundubu jjigae made from tofu.
  4. Chamgerum. With soy sauce, Sesame oil it is one of the most used condiments to flavor and give color to most Korean dishes. Most of the time it is found in emulsions based on soy, ginger and garlic to marinate meatlike beef or pork, but sesame oil is great too to dress vegetable-based side dishes, salads or to flavor white rice served as an accompaniment to many recipes.
  5. gim. As in Japanese cuisine, the use of algae plays an essential role in the preparation of various recipes. In this case, you can’t help but buy the dried seaweed sheets with which to make the traditional soup miyeok gukmade with wakame seaweed and ground beef, olive oil gimbapKorean rice rolls stuffed and wrapped with nori seaweed.
  6. Chungju. Man does not live on food alone, even less in Korean cuisine where meals are often accompanied by a good glass of wine, essential for complete satisfaction at the table. So you have to buy the sake which, with the consistency similar to that of milk and the particularly sweet taste, is also perfect to accompany traditional Korean snacks such as soft pancakes known as jeon.
  7. Kimchi. Finding it ready, packed in more or less large jars, is easy. We do not skimp and we buy in quantity: it will be useful in the preparation of many dishes. The Kimchi drift of the fermentation of different vegetables (like savoy cabbage, daikon or peppers) which are salted and left to ferment for a few days. Having it ready and ready will help in the preparation of dishes that require some cooking time, such as soups and stews. Kimchi is also excellent as a simple accompaniment to main courses of white rice and meat.
  8. Cooked meals. Finally, you can’t miss the section for any reason in the world ready meals present in any self-respecting well-stocked Korean supermarket. If the time available is short but you still want to taste typical dishes, you can buy the classic packs of dosirak, lunch box Korean, to choose from among the most popular: the japchaethe donkatsu and the kimbap. Another preparation not to be missed is the bibimpapa rich and savory single dish made with white rice and vegetables usually served with light broth or broth kimchi.

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