Korean kitchen 101: 5 easy ways to use Korean flavors at home

From street trucks to fine dining, Korean food has skyrocketed in popularity due to its bold flavors and unique approach to ingredients. And it’s not just a major food trend — it is fast becoming more mainstream.

But, while kimchi may no longer be regarded as a “mystery ingredient,” even the most adventurous foodies still tend to shy away from making Korean food at home in fear of not having the right tools or know-how. While preparing Korean food at home can seem intimidating, incorporating Korean flavors and ingredients into your everyday meals can be super simple and a tasty way to bring excitement to your favorite dishes.

Bibigo, the leading maker of convenient Korean foods, offers up five easy tips to embrace Korean cuisine in the comfort of your own kitchen.

1. Spice Up Your Comfort Foods

The balance of spicy, savory and sweet flavors in Korean cuisine are a perfect complement to many traditionally rich comfort foods like mac and cheese, grilled paninis, fried chicken and even pizza. Swap out condiments like ketchup or mustard for sauces that are savory with a kick like Bibigo’s Go-Chu-Jang Hot & Sweet Sauce, a hot sauce made from fermented Korean red pepper paste that adds some sweet heat to everyday savory dishes. This versatile condiment also works great as a dipping sauce for French fries and onion rings, or on top of pork or chicken tacos.

2. One-Pot Wonders

Crunched for time? Luckily, slow one-pot cooking really allows Korean flavors to shine. Combine spare ribs or flank steak with carrots, onions and Korean BBQ sauce in a slow cooker for 7-8 hours for an incredibly juicy and tender entrée the entire family will love. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired, and serve with white or brown rice to complete the meal.

3. Mix Up Your Marinades

Expand your palate beyond traditional barbecue sauce and try marinating meats in unexpected Korean flavors. Turkey and chicken pair well with sesame oil or mirin, a Korean rice wine. If beef or pork are on the menu, try Bibigo Go-Chu-Jang Barbecue Sauce, a delicious blend of sweet, smoky and spicy.

4. Soup Up Your Stews

As the temperatures dip, there’s nothing like defrosting with a warm bowl of soup. If you’re looking for a heartier addition to your favorite soups, add some bite-sized Korean dumplings, like Bibigo’s Chicken & Vegetable Mini Montons or Pork & Vegetable Steamed Dumplings. To elevate the flavor in your soup add scallions, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and garlic cloves to the broth.

5. Don’t Forget Your Greens

Korean cuisine is about so much more than meat and barbecue. In fact, traditional Korean food is typically served with banchan, or shareable side dishes, that are often made from vegetables like radishes, mung bean sprouts, watercress, cucumber and Napa cabbage. If you’re dining solo, try topping a bowl of sprouted brown rice with Sukju namul (seasoned mung bean sprouts), pickled radish and cucumber. Drizzle with sesame oil for some extra flavor and enjoy.

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