Red pepper powder

During the two international movings, it was tough to carry a giant icebox of condiments around and prevent them from rotting. They were mostly condiments like shiny red pepper powder, home-made Doenjang, Guchujang, Ganjang, and oils straight from mills. I was too worried about them and even had dreamed a couple of times. Fortunately, they arrived in good condition and are doing their good job making good flavor. It's hard to find such condiments that are made in traditional ways, and since they affect the taste so much, they're precious.

Doenjang (된장)

Guchujang (고추장)

Choshun Ganjang / Guk Ganjang (조선간장 / 국간장)

Yangjo Ganjang / Jin Ganjang (양조간장 / 진간장)

Gochugaru (고춧가루)

Sesame oil (참기름)

Roasted sesame (볶은 참깨)

These are the condiments that we use for most of the Korean food. So it's good to have them. If you'd like to expand your cooking territory into Korea, they're a good starter. You will get used to it and feel like enjoying cooking Korean food. Then, you can buy other types of condiments or the ones in better quality, as French people say, "Petit à petit." To help your understanding, I'll explain the summary, how to use, where to store, and how it's made per condiment. You can buy all of them in Korean marts both online and offline.

Doenjang (된장, soybean paste)

[ Summary ]

It's made with fermented soybean. The taste can differ depending on how it's made, the ingredients, environment, and aging duration.

[ Usage ]

It's used to season. It makes food savory and mildly salty. It is used in various categories of food like Guk (soup), Jjigae (stew), Jorim (simmering), Muchim (seasoning), dressing, etc.

It's useful to get rid of the unpleasant smell of meat or fish.

[ Storage ]

Seal and store it in the fridge. Use a clean and dry spoon to scoop. If it grows mold around the part where you touched with your spoon, scoop out the part.

[ How it's made ]

Boil soybeans, smash them and shape them as big bricks. Put them in a warm place. When they become dry and fermented, it's called Meju. Once Meju is done, put it inside salty water and age it. The aged liquid becomes Ganjang (soy sauce). For the leftover, you add salt, break them, age them again, and it becomes Doenjang. There is a huge difference in the way of fermentation and the taste of Japanese Miso. You can not substitute.

Guchujang (고추장, red pepper paste)

[ Summary ]

Mix ground dry Meju, glycated crops, and Gochugaru (red pepper powder). Like Doenjang, the taste can differ depending on how it's made, the ingredients, environment, and aging duration.

[ Usage ]

It's used to season. It makes food savory, spicy, sweet, and salty. It is used in many categories of food like Jjigae (stew), Jorim (simmering), Muchim (seasoning), Gui (grill), Bokkeum (Stir-fry), dressing, etc.

[ Storage ]

Just like Doenjang, seal and store it in the fridge. Use a clean and dry spoon to scoop. If it grows mold around the part where you touched with your spoon, scoop out the part.

[ How it's made ]

Soak malt in water. Massage them to break them better down. Filter them out and get the clear liquid. In this liquid, put sticky rice flour, rice flour, flour, or other types of flour. Get them fermented and simmer them. Add Gochugaru, Mejugaru (powder of Meju. Yes, 'garu' means powder) and salt and age them.

Choshun Ganjang / Guk Ganjang (조선간장 / 국간장, type A soy sauces)

[ Summary ]

They're made with fermented soybean. The traditional versions of Guk Ganjang and Chosun Ganjang become deeper and sweeter as they get more aged. The industrial versions you can get in marts are shipped with the fermentation process finished and stopped.

[ Usage ]

It's clear and salty, so they're useful to season something without adding too much of dark color. It makes food clear and savory. It's usually added to Guk (soup) or sautéed vegetables.

[ Storage ]

Store it in a dark and cool place.

[ How it's made ]

Boil soybeans, smash them and shape them as big bricks. Put them in a warm place. When they become dry and fermented, it's called Meju. Once Meju is done, put it inside salty water and age it. The aged liquid becomes Ganjang (soy sauce). And the leftover becomes Doenjang.

Yangjo Ganjang / Jin Ganjang (양조간장 / 진간장, type B soy sauces)

[ Summary ]

To make Yangjo Ganjang, slowly ferment the mixture of fat-reduced soybeans, starch from crops, and bacteria. On the other hand, Jin Ganjang is produced mainly via chemical processes with protein from soybeans. It's faster to produce and cheaper than Yangjo Ganjang. These two types of soy sauce can be substituted with Japanese soy sauce.

[ Usage ]

It's used to season. It's less clear than Guk Ganjang or Chosun ganjang. It's less salty, too. The smell is deeper, and it tastes mildly sweet. It's normally used in Jorim (simmering), Jangajji (pickle), sauce, and traditional Korean cookies.

The left is Chosun Ganjang, and the right is Yangjo Ganjang. The first photo is after I swirled them, and the second one is after I emptied them. You can see the difference in thickness and clarity.

[ Storage ]

Store it in a dark and cool place.

Gochugaru (고춧가루, red pepper powder)

[ Usage ]

It's used to make food spicy and look red. It can be used in many categories of food like Guk (soup), Jjigae (stew), Jorim (simmering), Muchim (seasoning), sauce, etc.

[ Storage ]

Seal and store it in the fridge or freezer. If you have to store them in the pantry, be careful of temperature, humidity, and even airtight sealing. It quickly absorbs damp and smells nearby, so it can rot if the temperature rises.

[ How it's made ]

In Korea, dry red peppers in the shade and again in the sunlight. Get rid of the stems and wipe the surface. Keep the seeds separately and grind the peppers. It can be either coarse or fine.

Sesame oil (참기름)

[ Summary ]

In Korean cuisine, the sesame oil means the oil of roasted sesame. If you make oil out of unroasted sesame, it can last longer, but smells lighter and cannot be substituted.

The left is the roasted sesame oil, and the right is unroasted. You can easily distinguish the two by color.

[ Usage ]

It makes food nutty in its unique way. Sesame oil in Korean cuisine is like butter in French cuisine.

[ Storage ]

Store it in the pantry where it's dark and cool. Usually, the bottles are dark, too. If you store it in the fridge, the oil becomes partially solidified, and it will lose its taste and scent.

Roasted sesame (볶은 참깨)

[ Usage ]

It makes food nutty and provides better texture.

[ Storage ]

If it's not much, seal and store it in a dark and cool place. If it's a lot, seal and store it in the fridge or freezer.

I've attached some links to the products you can purchase online for those who live in France. It is not an advertisement at all. If you are overwhelmed by this information and still don't know what to buy, feel free to buy these without too much thinking. I've chosen the ones in small sizes and at low prices. They're mass-produced, but the taste can be different among products. So you can start with these and later try other products.

Doenjang (된장, soybean paste)

Guchujang (고추장, red pepper paste)

Choshun Ganjang / Guk Ganjang (조선간장 / 국간장, type A soy sauces)

Yangjo Ganjang / Jin Ganjang (양조간장 / 진간장, type B soy sauces)

Gochugaru (고춧가루, red pepper powder)

Sesame oil (참기름)

Roasted sesame (볶은 참깨)

Recommended

Subscribe

Get notified of upcoming posts.

More about the people

Developed byEunjae Lee

Designed byMinji Jung

© merearchive