Wednesday, August 4, 2021

[Food] Sanchae (Wild Herb and Vegetable, 산채)


[Food] Sanchae (Wild Herb and Vegetable, 산채)

Nowadays, there is endless controversy regarding eating meat and vegetarianism due to animal ethics and rights, and environmental issues. Nevertheless, whether you are a meat-lover or vegetarian, it doesn't really matter in Korea because Koreans usually focus on a balanced meat and vegetable diet. Koreans have been always harvesting, cooking and eating wild herbs and vegetables from both their own environment and from nature as mountains, which form 70% of the Korean peninsula, are full of natural ingredients.

There are hundreds of wild herbs and vegetables so most Koreans don't know how many kinds of sanchae ('Sanchae' means 'wild herb and vegetable' in Korean) there are. Sanchae can be easily harvested from wild environments including mountains, coasts and plains, and they can also be planted and farmed by farmers and harvesters.

Therefore, it is very natural that the Korean-style diet consists of hundreds of sanchae (vegetarian) dishes. The best thing is that they are still superbly tasty and delicious even though they are all vegetables and herbs. A typical Korean sanchae-style food is Bibimbab which is a staple Korean and global gourmet today. Just add some seasoned herbs and vegetables into a bowl with steamed rice, gochujang (Korean chili paste) and sesame oil. How simple and delicious that is :)

However, cooking and seasoning sanchae needs experience as much as it does good ingredients. A cook must have comprehensive knowledge and experience of taste and nutrient profile in order to make sanchae. People usually use salt, sesame or perilla oil, gochujang, chili powder, sugar, vinegar and more to derive the best taste and goods from sanchae. Then they blanch and mix to make it into a tasty side dish.

Sanchae is easy to buy and to cook so you can see many sanchae-style Korean restaurants in Korea (usually near the famous mountains and Buddhist temples). How about trying out some sanchae for a new way of vegetarianism for the earth and the future? :) It can be a great way to a healthy and Eco-friendly diet :)

Bon Appétit! 

1 comment:

  1. This is exquisite. You provide the best simple introductions to Korean cuisine. Thank you:)