Banchan – Little Dishes, Big Flavour
If you’re eating at a Korean restaurant, you’ll notice a host of small sharing plates arriving at your table ahead of the main course. But these little vegetable and pickle portions are not appetisers, they’re banchan, the Korean word for ‘side dishes’.
The hero of all Banchan is kimchi – the soul of Korean cuisine. Though the pickled Napa cabbage version of kimchi is most well known, there are over 100 varieties made from different vegetables. It is a constant at every meal, coveted for its tangy crunch and gut health-boosting properties.
The number of banchan at a standard Korean meal can vary from two to a dozen or even more. Think of them as complements, contrasts, and condiments all at the same time.
Thinking of hosting a Korean dinner this month?
Try Arqa’s easy banchan recipes for your next Korean-themed dinner party.
Napa Cabbage | 2kg
Salt | 1/2 cup
Water | 1/2 cup
Arqa Kimchi Spice Mix | 80g
1. Wash and shred the cabbage. Toss with the salt and pack in jars to capture the brine and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours. Rinse and drain 3 times.
2. Whisk boiling water into the Arqa Kimchi Spice. Stir the mixture into the cabbage. Return to the jars and cover loosely.
3. Let it stand at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours, then refrigerate. The kimchi will continue to ferment in the fridge and start to bubble over time. Use within 1 month.
Visit Foodhall to pick up housemade banchan in mouthwatering variants like wilted spinach salad, spicy cucumber salad, eggplant salad, spicy radish salad and more! Don’t forget to complete your spread with our housemade Gochujang, gochujang mayo and ssamjang dipping sauce.