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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Three Traditional "Jangs" in Korea

고추장 Gochujang

Gochujang is a red chili pepper paste with spicy and sweet characteristic flavor at the sametime and made by slowly fermenting the mixture of red chili powder, glutinous rice powder mixed with powdered fermented soybeans and salt. It has been made at home in Korea since the 16th century and is prepared after making ganjang, in the third or fourth months of the lunar calendar, before the weather gets hot. Gochujang is one of the most widely used condiments added to soup or stew but it also add an extraordinary flavor to vegetable side dishes or stews like jjigae, marinated meat such as gochujang bulgogi or as a condiment for bibimbap.

Gochujang also has a variant such as
초고추장 chogochujang, made from gochujang with added vinegar and other seasonings, such as sugar and sesame seeds.
쌈장 ssamjang, made of doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, onion, garlic and green onions.
It is used with food wrapped in a leaf in Korean cuisines.

Variants of ssamjang :
견과류 쌈장 Nut ssamjang : ssamjang mixed with ground walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and other nuts.
쭈꾸미 쌈장 Jjukumi ssamjang : ssamjang mixed with diced short-arm octopus is stir-fried with diced red peppers and onions.
두부 쌈장 Tofu ssamjang : ssamjang with crushed tofu.
날치알 쌈장 Flying fish roe ssamjang : ssamjang mixed with flying fish roe.
나물 쌈장 Namul ssamjang : ssamjang mixed with various beans.

Gochujang contains of carbohydrate from the grain, protein from the soybeans and vitamins from the red pepper.

Gochujang steps :
Glutinous rice flour is kneaded into a doughnut-shaped cake called gumeongtteok and then boiled. Then mashed and spread out as the water it was boiled in is added little by little in . Powdered soybeans and red pepper are added and mixed well, finally salt is added and fermented for a month.

된장 Doenjang
Doenjang is one of Korean traditional seasonings, like gochujang. It is made as a thick sauce from ripened and fermented soybeans. Usually used as a basic seasoning in Korean stews or soups. Doenjang is making from meju, the fermented soybean. Doenjang and ganjang can be made together. After the process in the earthenware jar, the mashed meju which is called doenjang can be taken out from the earthenware jar. The rest which is not being taken out from the jar, we called it ganjang or soy sauce.

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간장 Ganjang
Ganjang is a Korean traditional condiment made from fermented soybeans. It is called soy sauce. Ganjang is also made from meju and usually make when the spring comes. The period of fermentation shows the quality of ganjang. When the fermentation takes longer, the quality becomes better. Ganjang can be fermented over the years, and can be shown by its color. The old ganjang can be seen with dark brown color.

Those of three jangs which are shown above, are the basic ingredients for most of Korean dishes.

References :
Korean Food The Originality 
An Illustrated Guide to Korean Culture

Video credits on Youtube :
고추장, 지극한 정성과 기다림의 매운맛 uploaded by 7410000
010512_1st Look_LXTV_NBC [ep3] Jang - Korean Condiments uploaded by tasteofkoreanyc

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