Spicy Sweet Saewoo Bokkeum

This is such a tasty banchan, especially if you like the flavor combination of salty, sweet and spicy.  Dried shrimp tastes so nutty, crispy and is full of umami-packed flavor. The sauce in this recipe coats the shrimp in a spicy candied glaze. A perfect banchan for a doshirak (lunchbox/bento box) or as an anju (cocktail/pub snack).


5 oz package of dried shrimp

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup mirin

1 tablespoon gochujang

1 tablespoon brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon gochugaru

1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

1/2 cup toasted cashews (optional and other nuts work great too)

2 tablespoons sesame oil (reserve until end of cooking)

2 tablespoons corn syrup (reserve until end of cooking)

In a large wok or frying pan constantly stir shrimp over medium high heat for about 7 to 10 minutes to toast them. You want to toast them until you can begin to smell the aroma become nuttier and less seafood-y. Pop one in your mouth to test. Is it crunchy and nutty tasting? Perfect. 

Set aside toasted shrimps on a plate. Wipe down wok and heat up vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add in garlic and ginger to hot oil and stir for a few seconds (careful not to burn them) before adding in soy sauce, mirin, gochujang, brown rice syrup, granulated sugar and gochugaru.

Stir frequently until sauce has reduced down a bit and thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in shrimp, peppers and cashews. Turn off heat. Add sesame oil and corn syrup at the end of cooking for extra nuttiness and sheen. Stir. Serve, garnished with toasted sesame seeds. Let cool before storing.