Now a Korean meal isn’t complete if there aren’t banchan, side dishes.
Whenever dining in Korean restaurants here, the side dishes are always the ones filling up the table space, say there would be at least 5 different types of side dish with a kimchi. But funny when we were actually in Seoul, it’s not like that. I don’t know, I maybe wrong or I just happen to go to the wrong restaurants, but MOST of them, no actually all the restaurants I went to, had just a maximum of 3 side dishes. Kimchi, radish, and if u’re lucky, maybe some pickled cucumber, radish or seaweed or rice cake. And we had to go take them from a big bowl. Heh..and refill it ourself if we need to.
So well, that was just an experience. This time around, for the Korean cooking session, I wanted to make what they call, myulchi bokkeum; stir fried anchovies. Now this is confession time, we don’t have a habit of using anchovies in any of our cooking (at home), for as long as I can remember. When travelling overseas, my friends would pack dried anchovies… But to me, I probably won’t use it cause it’s just not a usual thing. So being me, talentless at buying seafood or any dried seafood, I was more worried of the buying part more than the cooking.
But luckily, at the Korean grocery store, they sell anchovies as well. I honestly think its’ better to use the smaller type of anchovies rather than the medium sized ones, which are the ones I’m using. Larger ones are for soup stocks. They only have medium and large, my choice was obvious.
For this dish, the things you need to have are anchovies (of course surely you need that) and corn syrup. If you want to make it spicy, you would then need gochujang. I made both, of course. It keeps well in the fridge and it’s very versatile. It can be added to porridge, fried rice, noodles soup or even just eating as it is.. If you want it to be more sticky, just add more corn syrup. Mine was more caramelized and dry.
Myulchi Bokkeum (fried anchovies) 멸치볶음
(adapted from Maangchi)
- 2 cups anchovies
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- (for spicy version, I just added 1 heaped tbsp of gochujang)Method
- Stir 1 cup of small dried anchovy in a heated pan for 1 minute. Add olive oil and stir it for another minute. (Pic 1)
- Push the cooked myulchi to the edge of the pan away from the heat.
- Make sauce by adding sugar, minced garlic, water, and corn syrup to the cleared spot on the pan. (Pic 2)
- Tip the pan so only the sauce is over the heat. Simmer it until the sauce looks shiny. (Pic 3)
- Mix the cooked anchovy with the sauce and turn the heat off.
- Add sesame oil and sesame seeds.