How many banchan do you keep on hand?

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    • #49992

      Hi everyone, I abbreviated a little for the topic title so the question is: how many prepared banchan and kimchi do you try to keep on hand to assemble quick meals? How many people you are serving? What types of banchan and kimchi do you tend to keep around, and what are your favourite dishes to make out of them?

      In my case when I cook Korean a lot it’s generally for 2 people and a baby. I try to keep 3 types of banchan, generally spinach ‘namul’ with sesame oil and soya sauce plus two others which I rotate. I buy a small package of radish kimchi rather than make it because it gets consumed slowly at our house. Often I get home from work right before dinner and I assemble (dol sot–hot stone) bimbimbap as a quick dinner by putting banchan over rice and serving within minutes.

      Mul kimchi (a quick, light, nonspicy ‘water’ kimchi) is another thing I make a lot and serve with noodles for a quick meal along with some protein.

      Our neighbours object to strong kimchi smells so we never eat kimchi chiggae (soup) :( which would be a wonderful quick meal.

      How about you?

    • #54615

      You made me think about that one, well, currently there’s…

      Soybean sprout side dish

      kongnamul muchim

      콩나물 무침

      Rice, meat, and vegetables rolled up into seaweed and cut into bite-sized pieces



      Spicy fermented cabbage and spicy fermented radish

      Kimchi, kaktugi

      김치, 깍두기

      Fermented squid side dish



      Spicy stuffed cucumber kimchi

      Oisobagi kimchi

      Soybean paste based dipping sauce for raw fish



      Don’t know if the last item on the list counts as a side dish but it’s onhand no matter.

      About 20 minutes ago just got finished making the fermented squid. That is delicious! My husband did mention the fridge was “stuffed” so now your question just made me realize, it really is stuffed full of Korean food! :)

    • #54616

      I have cucumber kimchi and normal kimchi (I made the full 10 pounds of Mak Kimchi). I have the dried squid side dish and dried anchovy side dish in the fridge too. When cooking for more than two (and sometimes when just two) I love making the soybean side dish and the spinach one – they seem to be the two favorites amongst my friends so far. I also make the fried tofu side dish for most meals as it is so yummy.

    • #54617

      Oksipak, I too call homemade dipping sauce a dish! Wow, you have an impressive stock of Korean foods in your fridge.

    • #54618

      JamieF, thanks for the reminder, soybean sprouts (kongnamul gukso) is a terrific side dish and it cooks up well alongside the spinach one.

      My baby daughter took a long nap so I now have spinach side dish, eggplant side dish (sautéed with lots of oil plus sesame oil soy sauce, garlic and sesame seeds), kosari for bimbimbap and and julienned carrot for the same, although I made it Japanese-style as a kinpira.

    • #54619

      BxlSprout – wow that is a lot of side dish cooking in one day! I love the eggplant side dish. You have made exactly the same stuff as I did last week for bibimbap :)

    • #54620

      I try to have about 5 or 6 on hand at a time, and I try to make several non spicy options for the kids although 2 of my 3 kids eat spicy food quite well. Lately these have been the side dishes I have been making the most: kosari nameul, kong nameul muchim, kong jorim, sigeumchi nameul, nabak kimchi (a kind of water kimchi), mak kimchi, kaji nameul, roasted kim (pare? is what my husband calls it), kamja jorim and uhmook bokkeum. I try to make about 4 or 5 of these on a Sunday and then my husband and I can make a lunch box every day and have food for dinner at home too.

      My mouth is watering again thinking of all the delicious panchan that everyone has posted…

    • #54621

      I like to have at least three banchan, one kimchi, and one soup on hand. When I make soups, I usually make a lot and then freeze half a portion to eat at a later time. My favorites are miso cabbage, soybean sprout and sour kimchi, or kimchi-chigae (with pork, tuna, Spam, or canned mackerel).

      For the banchan, I like to have small anchovy stirfry, seasoned tofu, and my current favorite is Maangchi’s miso collards. A lot of my banchan are protein based though. I need to start trying out some more vegetable ones.

      And I always have cabbage kimchi on hand.

    • #54622

      Jamie, how funny that we made the same things.

      Mokpochica, that is interesting to knwo that just those few banchan and you have enough on hand to easily make doshirak/lunchboxes. I would like to do those too *quickly* in the morning since life is unpredictable pregnant with a toddler. My 13-mo isn’t ready for spicy foods, like your third child.

      Unchienne, that’s a good idea, keep a soup on hand too. I hadn’t thought of that!

      So helpful! Thank you for all of the great responses. It’s interesting to read what others do since I didn’t grow up with the idea of banchan.

    • #54623

      I think the key is to make big portions. I often make double batches of recipes. We also supplement with purchased items from the Korean grocery store, like buchu kimchi and roasted kim in sheets. Or I fry up some rolled-up eggs or dubu.

      I like the idea of keeping soup on hand too. I don’t know why I haven’t done that. :)

    • #54624

      Since I just discovered this website and have only just started making Korean dishes, I’ve mostly done two banchan at a time. I would also have a type of soup. Right now, I’m mostly sticking to myeukguk because I have just given birth and I’ve been told that it’s really good for post pregnancy.

      I do wonder, though, about how long can we store the banchan. Any ideas? I usually make enough to last me a week, but is it safe to keep it for longer? I assume that it might differ from ingredients to ingredients, but maybe there’s a standard storage period. I would really appreciate any thoughts on this.

    • #54625

      Banchans are something that doesn’t last long in my refrigerator because they are eaten too fast. I make them on the weekend and by the following weekend I start all over again making new banchans.

      Bachans are really not meant to last more than a week, in my opinion (exception is the kimchi(s)). :)

    • #54626

      kellmcnamara: I think most would last a week at least. Last night I had bibmbap with the leftovers from last weeks BBQ and it was delicious!

    • #54627

      Hey everyone! This is my first post. I noticed that there are a couple moms on this forum and was hoping to get an answer to this question: What kind of Korean food do you feed toddlers? I have a 2 year old, and would like to start introducing her to Korean food, but I have two setbacks: she doesn’t eat meat, I’m allergic to seafood, (oh, and my husband will pretty much only eat Galbi Gui or Bulgogi, but that’s beside the point, he’s lucky to get food on the table, lol). Thanks,

    • #54628

      When my children were small I used to make them “rice soup”. Heat about 3/4 cup stock – use what your child prefers – add shredded zucchini and shredded carrot if you wish, and a little garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer a few minutes til veggies are softened. Add a tiny bit of soy sauce and sesame oil, green onion and one or two tablespoons of rice. Simmer a couple of minutes til rice is softened.

      My children liked this so much I had to make it almost every day. And of course this introduced them to the basic korean flavors. I found that my little ones weren’t put off by the flavor of meat, just the difficulty of chewing and swallowing. Thus meat stock was acceptable.

      When they got a little older, and more curious about the foods we adults were eating I gave them a small bowl of water at dinner, to which I added thin slices of kimchi or kaktugi. They were eating kimchi by age 3 or so.

      I always keep paechu kimchi, kaktugi and kkaenip (perrilla leaf) kimchi on hand. In the summer I keep a jar of nengkuk – either cucumber or moo, or a combination – with lots of hot pepper slices of course. And I always have fresh hot peppers and cucumber that I serve with cho kochujang or ssamjang, or sometimes with straight kochujang as a dip.

      I don’t make the same panchans on a regular basis, because I don’t like to eat the same things over and over. I try to make something different every few days. And I try to keep one protein panchan, and at least two veggie panchans available. I always serve an odd number of dishes – superstition maybe, but that is what Mom and my aunts always did.

      I don’t live close to a korean grocery, so when I get kongnamul I will simmer the whole package and remove enough to make kongnamul muchim. Then I freeze (Yes! It works!) enough to add to yukgaejang. I then save the remaining kongnamul and the cooking liquid to make kongnamul soup in the next few days. If I have purchased a large package I will also make kongnamul bap. This way I have a lot of variety in dishes, even though I am using the same ingredient. I have found that kongnamul will last longer if you keep it in the fridge in the cooking liquid, plus there is whole heaps of flavor – don’t throw it out!

      When I make panchans I try to make only enough for a day or two. I have found that many loose quality after a couple days. This is particularly true of segumchi namul, and kongnamul muchim. I keep my fridge at 38 degrees, but I have never understood how others could keep things for a whole week. To me things taste and smell off after a couple days.

      The exceptions are of course pickled items, seasoned dried squid, kong jorim, and sauteed myelchi, and a few others.

      In many cases Maangchi has included the keeping qualities of dishes in her videos. I would like to request that she include that info as often as possible, as that is extremely valuable info!

      I regularly cook for 2 – 4 now. I cook korean at least 4 times a week, and often have soups in the freezer. I always make extra to freeze, except kongnamul soup which never makes it to the freezer. I don’t ususally freeze kimchi soup or tuenjang chige either, as the texture is compromised. But I always freeze stocks and seollongtang and oxtail soup.

      Having basic stocks in the freezer works well. I simmer several pounds of beef, then portion into quart containers with the broth. Very basic. I don’t add any veggies, onions or garlic – just a little salt. When I take it out I can make neng myun (cold noodles), radish soup, yukgaejang, miyuk kuk, or any number of american applications.

      Sorry to be so long winded. Hope this is useful!

    • #54629

      WOW Ashimi. I love how you do your kongmnamul! I always buy it and then it goes bad before I use it up. So from now on, I will try to boil it all like you do. Then I will take some out to make panchan. Freeze some and make soup with the rest! Brilliant! You just store the boiled sprouts in the liquid in a tupperware in the fridge?

    • #54630

      Yes. The fluid prevents the sprouts from absorbing off flavors in the fridge. I do this with leftover meats whenever possible too. And if you freeze leftover meats (example; poached chicken) in broth, even just to cover in a small container, it protects from freezer burn.

      Since my post I have gotten a self watering sprouter so I am now able to sprout my own soy bean (or any other kind) sprouts so I won’t have to freeze them any more.

      Just remember if freezing sprouts don’t cook them too long before you freeze, because you will probably cook them again in soup or such. When they are over cooked they loose flavor, and they want to stay together, and the tails get all tangled up and you end up picking all the sprouts out of your bowl in the first spoonful!

      I had the same problem with kongnamul going bad before I could use them all, which is why I experimented with freezing.

      I also find that kongnamul muchim starts to taste funny by the third day, so I never make more than we can eat in two days.

      Have fun cooking!

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