Looking for some easy Korean side dishes that you can recreate at home?
From salad to rice cakes to broccoli, these simple recipes bring Korean BBQ into your kitchen.
Korean cooking encompasses the combination of five bold flavors — salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and spicy.
This doesn’t only apply to main courses. I’m also talking about their addictive sides!
Ever been to a Korean BBQ restaurant? Then you’ve probably seen the bevy of small side dishes served beside mouthwatering grilled meats.
Collectively called banchan, Korean side dishes can also be enjoyed with just a bowl of rice or two!
Each one has a unique flavor profile, most of them filled with vegetables.
Tasty and oh-so hearty, I couldn’t help but round up a list of Korean side dishes you can recreate at home. Let’s get started!
Blanched spinach seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil, this dish is super easy to make yet so delicious!
Also known as sigumchi namul, seasoned spinach is served almost every day at Korean homes — any time there’s a food gathering.
Seasoned spinach is also present in other Korean dishes like bibimbap (mixed rice with veggies) and japchae (stir-fried glass noodles).
This side dish could be a star at your next summer outdoor cookout. Serve with your main BBQ dish to create a burst of memorable flavors!
Cucumber salad is another staple of Korean cuisine, also called oi muchim. Oi is cucumber in English, while muchim means mixed with seasonings.
So, that’s it! You only need seasoning and fresh cucumbers for this recipe. Gochugaru or Korean red chili pepper flakes are a must for a fiery kick.
A jar of kimchi holds a salty and spicy fermented cabbage (or radishes), packed with a tangy flavor.
It gets its unique taste from a paste made from chili pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, and apple.
The best part? Kimchi is a probiotic powerhouse, loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Other amazing benefits associated with eating this side dish are weight loss and lower cholesterol levels.
Here’s another spicy Korean dish to warm you up. These rice cakes are a delight to eat with their chewy texture.
Spicy and sweet flavors combine in this Korean street food, making it an instant hit at my house!
I just love serving this pounded rice with some fried foods or a hot bowl of soup. Ugh, so yummy!
Made with thin strips of radish and simple seasonings, this salad offers refreshingly sweet and sour notes.
This radish salad is commonly made with the same seasonings used in kimchi, but you can also add sugar and vinegar for a much deeper flavor.
Make sure you pick a tasty radish to add crisp and infuse peppery taste at every bite.
Fritters with a Korean twist, fried zucchini is a side dish that goes with any Korean meal.
This recipe creates thinly sliced, crisp zucchini coated in a thin batter of flour and egg. Season with a bit of salt, and you’re good to go.
Of course, fried zucchini is more flavorful when dunked in a tangy or spicy dipping sauce!
Take a break from spiciness by making some soybean sprouts. Aside from being a popular banchan, this dish is also an ingredient for bibimbap.
It has a mild flavor, owing to the combination of garlic, sesame oil, scallions, and salt.
The nutty flavor comes from the yellow part of the sprouts, while the long white stem produces a nice crunch.
Soybean sprouts are more than just a side dish. As mentioned, they are a fantastic addition to bibimbap.
You can also include them in an Asian stir fry or noodle soups.
Come summer, eggplants will be in season. Isn’t that a perfect time to make some steamed eggplants?
This dish is also known as gaji namul in Korea and is a staple side dish that’s super easy to make.
All you need to do is steam the eggplants, cut them into thin strips, then season. In 15 minutes, you’ll have a delicious everyday Korean side dish!
As a potato lover, this one goes into my (long) list of go-to side dishes.
This recipe yields soft, chewy baby potatoes glazed with slightly sweet soy sauce-based sauce. It can even be a stand-alone meal, served with a bowl of rice.
It’s also a versatile recipe, wherein you can add other veggies. You can also include red chili pepper paste to add some heat to the dish.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are fried until crispy and coated with a flavorful sticky syrup. This is what Korean crispy mushrooms are all about.
Gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) lends its spicy flavor to the dish and is a perfect complement to the sweet and sour sauce.
Add some garlic if you like for a more flavorful impact. For the garnish, chopped nuts or seeds are perfect!
11. Korean Coleslaw
This is another salad that tastes quite similar to kimchi. The difference? It’s more refreshing and is crunchier.
Sweet, spicy, and tangy, this coleslaw recipe is a fantastic side dish for grilled beef, chicken, or fish.
Use it as a topping for your burgers to bring a unique Asian flavor to your protein.
Aside from its distinctive taste, coleslaw is a nutrient-dense ingredient.
It offers an abundance of Vitamin C and also contains potassium and fiber.
With main ingredients such as pasta and mayonnaise, one can infer that macaroni salad has roots in Italy and France. So, this dish is definitely not Korean.
Surprisingly, you’ll see this creamy, slightly sweet side dish served in most Korean restaurants.
The Korean version seems to have fewer ingredients than other variations. These include macaroni pasta, shredded carrots, and salad dressing.
For upgrades, apples, cabbage, and capsicums are fancy additions to the salad.
13. Tuna Pancakes
If you like your pancakes savory, this recipe is a must-try.
Tuna pancakes are seasoned to perfection, with flavors coming from cayenne chili, green onions, bell peppers, and much, much more.
This side dish also doubles as patties for a classic sandwich.
Oh, and don’t forget the dipping sauce for a complete savory pleasure!
Because broccoli is always in season, you can make this quick and easy side dish all-year-round, whenever you want to.
Broccoli isn’t something the kids would eat right off the bat.
But if you blanch it and dress it up with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and salt, you’ll have a yummy, nutty, and crunchy side dish.
The entire family will adore this recipe!
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