Monday, December 16, 2019

[Food] Myeolchi bokkeum (멸치볶음, Stir fried anchovies)


[Food] Myeolchi bokkeum (멸치볶음, Stir fried anchovies)

As in most Asian countries, Koreans' main dish and source of carbohydrates is rice. However, rice is very plain and has very little sweetness so Koreans who have loved gourmet cuisine since ancient times have garnished countless side dishes of rice.

Korea is a peninsular surrounded by water so Koreans invented many seafood recipes. It wasn't only in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea like Italy that caught anchovies, but also Korea from its surrounding waters. They are different species but both are fishy and retain a sea taste.

As a side dish or as garnish, Koreans eat small-or-mid sized anchovies. When they are stir-fried, they become very crispy and savory with the taste of the sea. Koreans put starch syrup with soy sauce or chili paste. When it is placed on top of cooked rice, its sweet, salty and crispy flavor gives a kick.

To add a more crispy and savory taste, Koreans add nuts such as sesame, pine nuts, walnuts or peanuts. No one knows who first starting cook anchovies with nuts but I personally think that he or she should be recorded as one of the greatest people in Korean history because it tastes really good. Anchovies are usually fried with green or red chili as a spicy dish too.

'Stir-fried anchovies with spicy pepper' kimbab (seaweed roll)
Like tofu and beansprout, anchovies are one of the cheapest ingredients in Korea, so it is a very popular dish on the Korean table. Korean moms usually buy and cook a batch of them for storage in the freezer so the family can eat it for a long time :)

If you ever have the chance to visit or are invited by a Korean family, you will find it very easily. Try some of it, then you will know it tastes better when it is stir-fried than as a topping on pizza. :)

Bon Appétit!

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