Kitchen Tips

Essential Sides and Sauces for Korean Barbecue at Home

Last week in our summer barbecue masterclass, we shared the secret to creating Korean barbecue in your own backyard, so today we want to help you take it to the next level, with essential side dishes and sauces for a Korean barbecue at home.

Flavour-packed banchan

When you sit down at a Korean barbecue restaurant, almost immediately you’ll be served a selection of banchan, or side dishes. Try to recreate that colourful spread at home by presenting your own sides.

Seasoned bean sprouts:

blanch beansprouts in boiling water for 15-30 seconds (you want them to retain their crunch). Drain and rinse in cold water, then toss with chopped chives, crushed garlic, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil and a pinch of sugar. In less than 5 minutes, you have authentic sukju namul!

Kimchi:

buy a good-quality kimchi or, if time is on your side, make your own kimchi in 5 simple steps.

how to make kimchi

Radish kimchi:

cubes of crunchy radish kimchi go down a treat with Korean barbecue, particularly grilled pork. Make this gak dugi recipe 2-3 days in advance for the best results.

gak duki- why kimchi is used in diet

Shredded spring onions:

finely shred spring onions into matchsticks (Korean cooks have a special tool for this, but you can use a sharp knife. Just before serving, toss the spring onion with soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, gochugaru chilli flakes, white vinegar, sugar and crushed garlic.

Sauces

No Korean barbecue meal is complete without dipping sauces to accompany those tasty chargrilled meats. One non-negotiable sauce is ssamjang, a mix of doenjang (soybean paste) and gochujang (Korean chilli paste), perfect for serving with grilled beef and chicken. You can buy ssamjang from Asian grocers, or learn how to make your own ssamjang here.

Wraps

Our favourite way to eat bulgogi beef or galbi ribs is bundled into lettuce cups, known as ssam, which literally means ‘wrap’. Hold the lettuce cup in your hand (baby gem lettuce leaves are ideal), add a piece of meat, kimchi or pickles, and a dollop of ssamjang, then roll up and pop it into your mouth. For pork belly, Korean palates prefer to wrap the meat in thin slices of pickled radish to cut through the richness.

Beef Bulgogi

Complete your Korean barbecue meal with steamed rice and plenty of ice-cold beer or soju (Korean rice wine).

For more Asian barbecue inspiration, try Japanese teppanyaki at home, or try our twist on charcoal chicken with this Thai barbecue menu.

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