Korean Banchan Guide: 13 Easy Recipes To Try

korean side dishes flat lay

One of the hallmarks of an authentic Korean restaurant is its impressive spread of banchan. Known as Korean side dishes, there are many different types of banchan, from pickled radishes to fluffy steamed eggs. The best part? These homely Korean side dishes are usually served free at restaurants, and always refillable! If you, like us, enjoy having a spread of dishes on your dining table, try your hand at these Korean side dish recipes  including Korean volcanic steamed egg and pickled radish.

What are Korean side dishes (banchan)?

table with a spread of korean food including side dishes and bibimbap
(Credit: Jakub Kapusnak / Unsplash)

Banchan literally translates to side dishes, and are served in small plates before the main course. They’re not appetisers, but an essential part of every Korean meal. Banchan dates back to the era of Korean royal court cuisine, where each meal is served with 12 side dishes, rice and soup. 

Today, banchan is served in both Korean households and Korean restaurants, and can be any number from two to 12 dishes. If you’re looking to order banchan at restaurants, here’s the catch: these Korean side dishes are not listed on the menu, and the set of banchan you get at a restaurant can change up every now and then. Legend has it that there are more than 250 million Korean side dish recipes! Some of the most popular Korean banchan include Korean steamed eggs, pickled radish, and of course, kimchi.

What are the types of Korean banchan?

Korean side dishes on a table
(Credit: Vicky Tran / Pexels)

Korean banchan represents balance. Therefore, in any spread of side dishes, you can expect to find a variety of vegetables, eggs, carbs and beans in different colours like red, green, black and yellow. Here’s a lowdown of the main types of banchan you’ll typically find: 

Type of banchan Description Common varieties
  • Fermented vegetables — the most essential banchan 
  • Water kimchi (nabak kimchi), hot scallion kimchi (pa kimchi), cubed Korean pickled radish (kkakdugi)
  • Vegetables that are stir-fried, boiled, steamed, or marinated
  • Korean marinated bean sprouts (kongnamul), boiled egg plants (gaji namul), marinated spinach (sigeumchi namul)
  • Stir-fried dish with sauce
  • Stir-fried anchovies (myulchi bokkeum), stir-fried mushrooms (buseot bokkeum)
  • Pancake dishes
  • Kimchi pancakes (kimchijeon), scallion pancakes (pajeon), seafood pancakes (haemul pajeon)
  • Steamed dishes
  • Korean steamed eggs (gyeran jjim), Korean egg roll (gyeran mari)
  • Dishes simmered in broth
  • Korean braised potatoes (gamja jorim), soy sauce quail eggs (mechurial jorim)

Korean kimchi side dish recipes 

1. Korean pickled radish

Die-hard fans of Korean fried chicken would know how well Korean pickled radish goes along with it. These small cubes of pickled radish have even been dubbed “chicken mu (radish)” for being a staple side dish when having fried chicken feasts. If you can’t get enough of them, you’d be glad to know this Korean side dish recipe is also incredibly easy to make at home. Plus, this dish can be refrigerated for up to two weeks!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Fermentation time: 2 hours
Servings: Varies

Recipe ingredients:

  • 1 pound Korean radish, peeled and cubed
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¾ water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 ⅓ cup white vinegar

Recipe instructions:

  1. Combine sugar, water, white vinegar (available on Shopee Supermarket) and kosher salt (available on Hen Tick Official Store) in a large bowl and mix well until dissolved
  2. Add in radish and stir
  3. Transfer into an airtight glass jar (available on Shopee Supermarket) and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving

2. Spicy scallion kimchi (pa kimchi)

If you love Korean food, it’s likely you’re a spicy food devotee too. To add some kick to your meals, try your hand at this delicious pa kimchi recipe! This Korean side dish is best enjoyed with Korean main dishes like bibimbap or Korean BBQ!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Fermentation time: 24 to 72 hours
Servings: Varies

Recipe ingredients:

  • 15 cloves garlic
  • 680g scallions
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 6 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp apricot or green plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ⅔ cup Korean chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Recipe instructions:

  1. Wash scallions (available on Shopee Supermarket) thoroughly and slice off roots and yellow parts
  2. Combine ginger, garlic, fish sauce, apricot jam (all available on Shopee Supermarket), sugar and cooked white rice in a blender
  3. Blend until smooth and transfer the mixture to a large bowl
  4. Add Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru) (available on Made In Kitchen) and mix well until it forms a paste consistency
  5. Coat the paste onto the scallions and rub in gently
  6. Gather two to three scallions and make a knot, repeat for the rest of the scallions
  7. Sprinkle sesame seeds (optional)
  8. Place scallions in an airtight container and press down such that there is no air in between scallions 
  9. Ferment for up to three days and serve — the longer, the more sour your kimchi will be

Korean namul side dish recipes

3. Korean seasoned spinach

Not a veggie lover? You might change your mind with Korean namul side dish recipes! One common Korean side dish that’s served in Korean restaurants is seasoned spinach. Apart from being tasty, they also offer a host of health benefits like promoting digestive health and reducing blood pressure. Note that this dish can be kept for up to three days when refrigerated!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 3

Recipe ingredients:

  • 8 pounds spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ sesame oil
  • 8-10 cups water

Recipe instructions:

  1. Boil water in a large pot
  2. Blanch spinach (available on Shopee Supermarket) in boiled water for 30 seconds to one minute with lid off and stir with a wooden spoon
  3. Strain the spinach and rinse it under cold water to remove dirt
  4. Squeeze out excess water 
  5. Cut spinach into bite sized pieces
  6. Add spinach, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, white sesame seeds and sesame oil (all available on Shopee Supermarket) into a bowl and mix well
  7. Transfer to a small plate and serve

4. Korean seasoned soybean sprouts

The Korean seasoned soybean sprouts recipe is similar to how seasoned spinach is prepared. It also involves blanching the vegetables and seasoning them with a mix of condiments. If you love the fragrance of sesame oil, you’ll definitely be a fan of this Korean banchan!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 3 cups soybean sprouts
  • ¼ of a whole carrot, sliced
  • 3 stalk scallions, sliced
  • ½ tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • ⅔ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds

Recipe instructions:

  1. Remove the ends of each bean sprout (available on Market Boy)
  2. Add water to a pot and bring it to a boil, season it with salt 
  3. Add in bean sprouts and boil for exactly four minutes
  4. Strain the bean sprouts and place in a bowl of cold water to let it cool
  5. Run it under cold water and set aside to get rid of excess water
  6. Add bean sprouts, garlic, salt, sugar (available on Shopee Supermarket) and mix well
  7. Add in sesame seeds and sesame oil and mix
  8. Portion it into a small plate and serve

5. Korean spicy cucumber salad

If you want a fuss-free recipe that takes less than five minutes of your time, try this Korean spicy cucumber salad! It’s extremely easy to make — all you need to do is prep the ingredients and toss them together! We love how appetising, refreshing and flavourful this dish is. It pairs perfectly with any home-cooked meal and goes well with beer!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 1 piece cucumber, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ of a whole onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp Korean red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Salt 

Recipe instructions: 

  1. Combine sliced cucumber, minced garlic, chopped onions (all available on Shopee Supermarket) and spring onions in a large bowl
  2. Add in Korean red chilli flakes, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds, mix well and serve!

Korean bokkeum side dish recipes

6. Stir-fried anchovies

korean stir-fried anchovies side dish recipe
(Credit: koreafamilymarket1.sg)

Stir-fried anchovies is a basic Korean banchan that offers a burst of flavours. It’s a combination of sweet, salty, and spicy! We also love its sticky and crunchy texture. If you like spice, we recommend adding Korean red chilli paste (gochujang) into the mix! This Korean side dish recipe is especially yummy when paired with white rice! You can keep them in an airtight container and refrigerate to let it last for up to a week.

Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 1 cup small anchovies
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp red chilli paste (gochujang), optional 

Recipe instructions:

  1. Add vegetable oil to a pan and stir-fry anchovies (both available on Shopee Supermarket) for two minutes over medium heat
  2. On the side of the pan, add in brown sugar, honey (both available on Shopee Supermarket), sesame oil, garlic and gochujang (available on Shopee Supermarket) and water.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat and stir in the anchovies
  4. Once the anchovies are fully coated, serve in a small plate and top it off with sesame seeds!

7. Korean stir-fried mushrooms

korean stir fried mushroom side dish recipe
(Credit: Marina Utrabo / Pexels)

For all mushroom lovers, this Korean side dish recipe is for you. We love how savoury these stir-fried oyster mushrooms are and its chewy texture. You can also adapt this recipe to other types of mushrooms, and serve this along with rice or use it to make bibimbap!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 12 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe instructions:

  1. Coat pan with oil over medium high heat and stir fry minced garlic until fragrant
  2. Add shiitake mushrooms (available on Quan Shui Wet Market), soy sauce, oyster sauce (available on Shopee Supermarket) and a dash of sesame oil
  3. Stir-fry for three to four minutes 
  4. Remove from heat season with salt and pepper to taste
  5. Top it off with sesame seeds and green onions and serve

Korean jjim side dish recipes

8. Korean volcanic steamed egg

Typically cooked and served in a Korean earthenware pot (available on Hanguk Kitchen SG), Korean volcanic steamed egg (poktan gyeranjjim) is a highly popular Korean banchan today. It’s especially loved for its light and fluffy texture that’s almost like a soufflé. We recommend trying this Korean side dish recipe on a cold rainy day! The best part is, Korean volcanic steamed egg is extremely easy to make with simple ingredients!

Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stalk green onion, diced
  • 6 tbsp water
  • ⅓ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seed

Recipe instructions:

  1. Add eggs, water and salt in a bowl and mix well
  2. Coat your Korean earthenware pot with sesame oil or cooking oil (available on Shopee Supermarket
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the pot and cook over low heat
  4. Stir the mixture continuously to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot
  5. Add in green onions
  6. When the eggs are 70-80% cooked, cover the pot with a lid and cook over low heat for three minutes
  7. Sprinkle sesame seeds and sesame oil and serve

9. Korean egg rolls

person rolling up an egg roll in a square pan
(Credit: Banfang Home Official Store)

Looking for healthy lunch box recipes to pack for your little one? They’ll be sure to love these Korean egg rolls, a popular Korean side dish recipe that makes a delicious and colourful addition to their lunch box! They’re typically made with two different types of vegetables like carrots and scallions. We recommend getting a Non-Stick Square Pan (available on Banfang Home Official Store) to make the process easier.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Carrot, shredded
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe instructions:

  1. Preheat pan for two to three minutes over medium low heat
  2. Beat the eggs and add in scallions and carrots (available on Shopee Supermarket), as well as salt and pepper to taste
  3. Coat the pan with cooking oil and distribute it evenly with a kitchen towel (available on Shopee Supermarket)
  4. Pour half of the egg mixture into the pan and swirl it around to fill the entire surface
  5. When the egg is set at the bottom but wet on top, fold the egg three times into a roll with a spatula
  6. Remove the pan from heat and make room to add in half of the remaining mixture
  7. After about one minute when the egg is half cooked, roll it again three times
  8. Repeat the process with the rest of the mixture to make a two inch egg roll
  9. Remove the egg from the heat and let it cool
  10. Slice it up into even pieces and serve

Korean jorim side dish recipes

10. Korean braised potatoes

Nothing beats a hearty serving of potatoes that’s both sweet and savoury! This Korean jorim banchan can be enjoyed both as a snack or along with a meal. 

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 450g baby potatoes, halved
  • 1.5 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Recipe instructions:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add cooking oil and baby potatoes (available on GrocerKing Official Store)
  2. Pan fry potatoes for four to five minutes until the edges of potatoes are golden brown
  3. Add water, soy sauce and maple syrup (available on Shopee Supermarket) into the pan and bring them to a boil
  4. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are fully cooked

11. Soy sauce quail egg

korean soy sauce quail eggs side dish recipes
(Credit: KRshop.sg)

Soy sauce quail eggs is a delicious bite-sized banchan that offers a burst of umami flavour with each bite. We love how quail eggs have an optimal ratio of egg white to egg yolk, which makes the texture extra satisfying and creamy!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Marinating time: 8 hours
Cook time: 5 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • 18 quail eggs
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, diced

Recipe instructions:

  1. Submerge quail eggs (available on Market Boy) in cold water in a pot 
  2. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for four minutes
  3. Drain the quail eggs and submerge in a bowl of cold water and let it cool
  4. While the eggs cool, add soy sauce, water, garlic, sugar and green onions into a large airtight jar (available on Shopee Supermarket) and stir well
  5. Peel the quail eggs and add them to the jar
  6. Refrigerate the mixture overnight for at least eight hours and serve

Korean jeon side dish recipes

12. Kimchi pancake

For a delicious afternoon snack, try your hand at making a kimchi pancake from scratch with this Korean side dish recipe! For the crunchiest texture, the older the kimchi the better! If you’re short on time, you can get a ready to eat Korean pancake (available on SL Foods Official Store) — all you have to do is heat it up in a microwave oven or pan fry it. 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup kimchi, sliced 
  • 2 tbsp kimchi juice
  • ⅓ cup sparkling water
  • ¼ onions, sliced
  • 1 stalk green onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp miso (optional)

Recipe ingredients (batter)

  • 40g flour
  • 40g potato starch
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Salt

Recipe instructions:

  1. Add cooking oil into a round pan (available on Shopee Supermarket) over medium heat and let it preheat for four minutes
  2. While the oil is heating, mix flour, baking soda (both available on Shopee Supermarket), potato starch (available on RedMan Official Store), and a pinch of salt in a bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, mix kimchi juice, miso and sparkling water (both available on Shopee Supermarket)
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients together
  5. Pour the batter into the pan to cover the entire surface
  6. Add sliced onions, green onions and half of the kimchi (available on Hanguk Kitchen SG) on top of the batter
  7. Lightly press the ingredients in and add the other half of batter into the pan
  8. Add the rest of the kimchi and green onions on top of the batter
  9. Cook for three minutes and flip the pancake
  10. After three minutes, remove the pancake from heat and serve

13. Seafood pancake

Another delicious Korean jeon banchan is seafood pancake! Be sure to serve this along with the dipping sauce, which is an essential part of this Korean side dish recipe. It elevates the flavour of the pancake by a heap!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Recipe ingredients:

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 stalks green onion, sliced to 8-9 inches
  • ½ cup seafood of choice, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • Salt and pepper 

Dipping sauce ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp Korean red chilli flakes
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Recipe instructions:

  1. Prepare the dipping sauce by adding soya sauce, apple cider vinegar (available on Shopee Supermarket), Korean red chilli flakes, green onions and sesame seeds into a small bowl
  2. Combine chopped seafood like shrimps and clams with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add in flour, potato starch, salt, chicken stock (available on Shopee Supermarket) in a separate bowl and whisk until smooth
  4. Preheat oil in a pan over medium high heat for two minutes
  5. Coat green onions with batter and add it to the heated pan
  6. Add in seafood mixture and pour in the rest of the batter
  7. Add sliced red pepper (available on Market Boy) and a beaten egg onto the batter
  8. Reduce heat to medium and cook for six minutes
  9. When the bottom is browned and crispy, flip the pancake over
  10. Cook the other side for three more minutes
  11. Flip the pancake over again to cook for one more minute and serve with dipping sauce!

Satisfy your K-drama induced cravings with these Korean side dish recipes

The next time your K-crazed friends come over, flaunt your culinary skills by serving up some delicious Korean steamed eggs, seafood pancake or pickled radish! You can stock up on the ingredients you need conveniently from Shopee Supermarket. Complement them with some of the best soju flavours and the best Korean snacks! If you’re an avid K-drama watcher, check out these easy Korean recipes inspired by K-dramas too! 


Facebook Comments