Wednesday, October 27, 2021

[Food] Twigak & Bugak (Deep Fried Vegetable and Seaweed, 튀각 부각)


[Food] Twigak & Bugak (Deep Fried Vegetable and Seaweed, 튀각 부각)

In the olden days, Buddhist monks in Korea didn't have much choice when it came to their diet because of their belief that prohibited them from eating any meat or fish. However, monks craved delicious food just as much as others.

So they started to fry (and deep fry) the ingredients they could eat, which were vegetables and seaweeds. The first thing they did was to deep fry ingredients, but perhaps they thought there was a better way of deep frying, so they deep-fried ingredients after covering them with sticky rice paste which gave a crispier and crunchier texture :)

Today this deep frying gourmet from the Buddhist temple consists in significant part of Korean food culture, Korean food historians confirm that the deep-frying style of Korean cuisine was invented by monks in the Korean Buddhist temple kitchens.

There are two types of deep fried vegetables and seaweed - 'twigak' (deep fried without batter) and 'bugak' (deep fried with sticky rice paste batter).

Kelp Bugak (Deep fried kelp in sticky rice batter)

Spicy chili bugak

Twigak and bugak are usually eaten as a side dish for a meal at any time of the day or can also be savored as a snack between meals and is a good beverage compliment. Koreans usually season twigak and bugak with salt or sugar to add more taste and texture to it :)

Very familiar and a popular side dish for Koreans, twigak and bugak can be found at any Korean traditional market or side dish shop. In the early days, there was kelp and chili twigak only, but people began to invent many kinds of twigak and bugak.

Kelp, spicy pepper, seaweed, potato, burdock, lotus root, sweet pumpkin and more are ingredients that can be 'deep fried' for sure :) Following the deep frying process, twigak and bugak should be stored in a dry place to be eaten as a side dish for meal time. Maintaining their crispy and crunchy texture is key to serving good twigak and bugak.

If you visit any Korean market, look for this crispy buddy :) Maybe you'll find your next favorite dish!

Bon Appétit!

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