More commonly known as Napa cabbage. In season in the fall and thus a traditional time to make kimchi. Look fo crisp and juicy white stems, green leafy tips and tender bright yellow centers.
A fermented Korean soybean paste made with boiled soybeans. It has a chunkier texture than dwenjang, containing semi-crushed to whole soy beans in the paste. It's aroma is similar to natto or grassier smelling aged cheeses, and has a blander flavor than dwenjang or miso. It is pungent and nutty tasting and is usually added to stews.
Dangmyeon (Korean glass noodles)
A type of Korean pasta made from sweet potato starch that is very stiff and greyish when dry. When cooked it becomes clear, chewy and bouncy. It is the main ingredient in japchae and also put in a variety of Korean soups.
Dried sea kelp. Used mainly in broths and stocks.
Tofu that is medium firm to extra firm made from soybeans. An important part of the Korean diet, there are still shops that specialize in dubu making. Widely available pre-packaged in both American and Asian markets. Usually pan fried or added to soups and stews.
"Gochu" means pepper and "garu" means powder. Despite their fiery appearance Korean red peppers are mild to moderately spicy. They are sun dried before being ground into a coarse or fine powder. Flavor is earthy, robust and ever slightly smokey. Widely used in Korean cuisine for flavoring kimchi, soups and stews or banchan.
A thick, sticky and slightly sweet fermented paste made with fine Korean chili powder, cooked sweet rice, meju powder, soy sauce, barley malt and salt. Although traditionally made at home, gochujang can easily be found in stores.
Kaetnip (Perilla Leaves)
Koreans do not use many herbs to flavor their dishes, but the fragrant and balmy perilla leaf is often used in soups, banchan or eaten fresh with wraps. They grow like weeds (because they are) and they are more fibrous and heartier than their Japanese counterpart- shiso.
A light-bodied, salty and pungent soy sauce used mainly in Korean soup dishes. Like most Korean soy sauce, it is a byproduct of Korean fermented soybean paste (dwenjang). The liquid is a fermented liquid mix of dried meju blocks immersed in salt water. Color is a deep amber brown but lighter in both viscosity and color than regular cooking soy sauce (ganjang).
Dried large anchovies used mainly for flavoring stocks.
An essential fermentation starter for brewing traditional Korean spirits, Nuruk is typically made with coarsely ground wheat which is dampened then fermented in a warm environment. Original form made into large pressed cakes into a disc or square shape. Pictured here is crushed nuruk pre-packaged for convenient use.
Used both as a seasoning and condiment to a wide array of Korean dishes, she woo jut is preserved by salting and fermented tiny shrimp. The quality and grade vary depending on the season, region, the maturity of the shrimp and preparation methods. Flavor is pungent, very salty and full of sweet aroma from the shrimp.
Woodear Mushrooms (mogi-beoseot)
A type of fungus used widely in Eastern Asian cuisine that is more commonly bought in dried form. These delicate mushrooms have a very pungent and camembert cheese-type of scent to them but the smell is not so strong when cooked and consumed. The texture is gelatin-like.