DOK, YANGNYEOM, KIMCHI
여행 정보 요약

DOK, CLAY VESSELS DESIGNED TO NATURALLY FERMENT AND PRESERVE FOOD IN OPTIMUM CONDITION

Korean cuisine is the epitome of slow food, which focuses on conforming to the laws of nature. At its core is the science of fermentation, a process in which natural microorganisms (such as lactic acid bacteria) break down sugar into health-benefiting acid in accordance with the timeline set by nature, making food more nutritious and tasty.

DOK, AN ESSENTIAL TOOL FOR NATURAL FERMENTATION

Kimchi is one of the most well-known fermented dishes of Korean cuisine. Ganjang (soy sauce), doenjang (soybean paste), and gochujang (red chili paste), which are added to most dishes, are condiments made by fermenting soybean. Traditional liquors, jeotgal (salted seafood), and jangajji (pickled vegetables) also undergo fermentation. In short, Korean cuisine is perfected through fermentation, and fermentation is enabled by a vessel called dok.

A dok is first shaped with clay, then covered with lye, and finally baked in a kiln. Also called onggi (earthen pots), ojigeureut (crocks), and hangari (jars), these clay vessels have invisible breathing holes through which air penetrates to allow fermentation. It prevents food from going stale by letting in air while retaining moisture. This is why earthenware is often referred to as “breathing vessels.”

 

JANG, THE PRIDE OF KOREAN WOMEN 

In the olden days, Korean housewives made it their utmost priority to ferment and preserve jang, or traditional condiments, in their optimum condition. Condiments were fermented and preserved in vessels, which were kept in places where they could receive enough sunlight, and maintained clean so that they could “breathe.”
Old sayings like “well-fermented jang bring luck to a home,” and “a daughter-in-law should be able to make 36 different types of kimchi and 36 different kinds of jang” prove that well-fermented jang were the pride and joy of a Korean housewife.

YANGNYEOM CONDIMENTS
THE KEY TO FLAVORS AND NUTRITION IN KOREAN CUISINE

Yangnyeom, though its direct translation is “condiments,” plays a greater role than what is typically expected of a condiment. Whereas a condiment is usually considered a minor ingredient added to boost the flavor of the major ingredient, yangnyeom sets the tone for the flavor of a dish and brings an array of health-enhancing effects. It mirrors our ancestors’ belief that food should not only please the palate but also benefit the body.

GANJANG, DOENJANG, AND GOCHUJANG, THE THREE MAJOR TRADITIONAL CONDIMENTS MADE FROM FERMENTED SOYBEAN


Ganjang, doenjang, and gochujang are all condiments made with meju (fermented soybean blocks). Soybean is rich in vegetable protein and is packed with various essential amino acids. Meju is made in late fall by boiling white soybeans until tender; mashing and shaping the boiled soybeans into rectangular blocks; and leaving it to age in a warm place. The blocks are then soaked in salted water for 40 to 60 days from January to February. The liquid is made into ganjang and the solid remains are what become doenjang. Gochujang is made by mixing powdered meju with glutenous rice paste and gochugaru (chili pepper powder) and then fermenting.

GREEN ONION, GARLIC, AND KOREAN CHILI POWDER, THE THREE ESSENTIAL HERBS IN KOREAN CUISINE

 

Green onion, garlic, and chili pepper powder are basic herbs that are almost always used in Korean cooking. Specially when making kimchi, green onion, garlic, and chili powder are crucial ingredients that can’t be substituted or omitted. Green onion helps remove unwanted odors in meats, and also adds flavor when seasoning vegetables. Garlic is becoming more and more popular due to its strong antibacterial, anticancer, and antioxidant effects. Its pungent smell and taste complement Korean dishes well. Korean chili powder is made by grinding well dried Korean chili. The bright red color instantly stimulates the appetite, and capsaicin, the substance in chili peppers that makes them spicy, is known to help boost weight loss.

KKAESOGEUM, CHAMGIREUM, AND DEULGIREUM, FLAVORFUL AND HEALTHY OILS

 

Kkaesogeum (ground sesame seeds with salt), chamgireum (sesame oil) and deulgireum (perilla oil) are ingredients that make Korean dishes more flavorful and savory. Kkaesogeum is usually used as garnish, and adds flavor, whereas chamgireum and deulgireum are usually used to add flavor in foods like namul (salad), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables), and bibimbap.

KIMCHI  ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF CULINARY WISDOM

Kimchi is a traditional fermented food of Korea now popular throughout the world. It has many varieties, each of which uses a different main ingredient and has its own distinctive taste and health-boosting benefits. A single kimchi contains more than ten vegetables and condiments that blend well through fermentation to create a rich and savory dish. Additionally, kimchi is loaded with “good bacteria” that strengthens the body’s immune system.

BOASTING A HISTORY OF OVER 1,500 YEARS, AND MORE THAN 200 VARIETIES

 

Kimchi can be made with practically every vegetable grown on earth, and because each region of Korea has its own kimchi, there are more than 200 varieties of it. Although different in the ingredients used, they are all the same in that the vegetables are salted, mixed with condiments and left to ferment.
The kimchi of different regions clearly stand apart from each other in both taste and appearance. The northern region, which has longer and colder winters, enjoys kimchi made with less salt and less chili pepper powder, and is often more watery than other regions. On the contrary, the kimchi of the warmer southern region tends to be less watery, and it’s saltier and spicier so it lasts longer.

WORLD-RENOWNED FOOD WITH HEALTH BOOSTING PROPERTIES AND A RICH, SAVORY TASTE

 

Kimchi is made with a variety of vegetables in combination with a number of condiments. It is a low-calorie food rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. Lactic acids and aromatic components generated during fermentation add a rich flavor unique to kimchi. Health, an acclaimed U.S.-based health magazine, selected kimchi as one of the top five healthboosting foods in the world based on its anticancer effect and its high vitamin and lactic acid bacteria content.

A UNESCO INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY

GIMJANG

In the olden days, women in village got together for gimjang, the practice of making large amounts of kimchi to last through the long winter months when fresh vegetables became scarce. This longstanding tradition, which is still cherished today, was not just about making kimchi but about bringing together families, friends and neighbors and sharing kimchi. Gimjang, which epitomizes the culture of cooperation and sharing in Korean communities, as well as the advanced culinary science, was listed as one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.

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