Thursday, August 9, 2012

Recipe: Cho Ganjang (Korean Vinegar Soy Sauce)

Cho ganjang is one of those recipes that is so basic and fundamental, I can almost make the recipe in my sleep. It is a quick, flavorful dipping sauce that complements "dippable" dishes. That includes fried foods such as 감자전 gamja jeon (Korean latke) or 파전 pajeon (Korean scallion pancake) as well as fish and 김밥 kimbap (rolled sushi).

Sometimes I just have to get back to the basics. Creating new recipes invigorates the brain and brings excitement and wonder into the kitchen. At some point, I run out of ideas or the ideas I come up with are so far off the path that there's very little hint of Korea in them.

When I feel like I'm starting to stray too far from the fundamentals of Korean cuisine, I come back to the tried and true recipes for a while before I head back out into uncharted territory.

A small 참치정 chamchijeon (Korean tuna pancake) takes a dip in cho ganjang. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)

초간장 Cho Ganjang (Korean Vinegar Soy Sauce)

Makes 1/2 cup of sauce.
Based on a recipe from Growing up in a Korean Kitchen: A Cookbook by Hi-soo Shin-Hepinstall.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
pinch of salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (I've also used 1 tablespoon of Asian-style Sprinkle from Savory Spice Shop, if I don't have sesame seeds on hand.)

Directions

  1. Mix soy sauce, rice wine, lemon juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil and salt in a small bowl. 
  2. Just before serving, sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Leftovers will last a week.

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