National Cuisines of Kyrgyzstan
Korean cuisine

At the turn of the century Korean cuisine is experiencing a real boom.  Restaurants serve various Korean snacks, festive appetizers, decorated spicy vegetable salads and garnishes; shops and markets offer appetizing carrots and aborigine, cabbage and mushrooms, beetroot and green Korean vegetables; and housewives seek to master exotic recipes from distant Korea.  Whereas Chinese cuisine is well known and appreciated throughout the world, Korean cuisine is still relatively unknown but has gaining in popularity, particularly in recent years.

Korean cuisine is quite specific. It is similar to Chinese, but there are differences. Many recipes are centuries old, at first glance they appear simple and uncomplicated, but when one begins to prepare them, one encounters unusual techniques and various intricacies.

Perhaps the most popular Korean dish is carrot salad. Under this name, there are many different recipes, each with their own aromatic characteristics and taste. In one case more garlic is added to the salad, in another more soy sauce, and in a third, more red pepper.  Each cook preparing Korean dishes, whilst preserving the basic recipe, introduces their refinements.

One of the important “secrets” of Korean salads is the special implement (grater) used for grating vegetables. Vegetables, grated with this “magical” utensil become thin long noodles with a square cross-section. Supposedly, grating vegetables should not affect the taste of the salad, but it is not so!  Practice shows that vegetables on an ordinary grater are not original Korean salads. In the absence of a special grater it is better to patiently to thinly shred vegetables with a sharp knife, this gives the best result than using an ordinary grater.

Sauces and seasonings are an essential component of almost all Korean dishes. Care should be taken to ensure that in the kitchen there are supplies of: soy sauce, vinegar, different types of pepper (ground and kernels), nutmeg, ginger, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon, and diverse spicy greens.  And it is important to leave salads to soak in the sauces, as indicated in recipes.

Very often dishes of Korean call for the use of monosodium glutamate (ajinomoto). It is one of the ingredients of stock cubes (used for making bullion) and a majority of culinary seasonings, and is used to reinforce the taste of the ingredients. It is a good idea to prepare in advance a special Korean mixed spice by taking a little (pinch) of different spices: black and aromatic ground pepper, cloves, nutmeg, red pepper, basil, bay leaves, (you can add or delete spices), ground into powder. Then mix with dry iodized salt and store in a sealed in a dry place.


Source: “Корейские салаты”, популярное издание, Москва, “Цитадель-трейд”, 2005