Even though I have had the great luck and opportunity to train under Dr. Tae Yun Kim for over 30 years now, and even though I have learned a lot about Korean food, there are some things that still intimidate me. For example, making really good Deng Jang Chigae (fermented soybean paste soup) and the many different kinds of ban chan. Ban chan are wonderful little side dishes that liven up your rice and make a simple meal into an explosion of flavors.
Dr. Tae Yun Kim is a most excellent and very creative cook, Korean cuisine and way beyond. She can make the most exquisite meals imaginable, yet her personal favorite are very simple, country-style dishes.
So I finally decided to conquer my fear of making ban chan and started with something relatively simple. This particular one happens to be one of Dr. Tae Yun Kim‘s favorite ones and is made out of the long, skinny kind of eggplants, this kind:
By JVRKPRASAD – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67744202
Turns out, this is really simple to make. How simple? Goodness, you cut the eggplant into small finger size stripes, marinate them in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, a tiny amount of sugar, ground garlic, ground ginger and a touch of lemon juice; and after about 15 minutes you saute it until the eggplant is soft.
And, tada! That’s it!
And when you mix all sorts of ban chan into your rice and add some hot sauce, you end up with this heavenly dish called bibim bap, and when it’s served in a stone pot it’ll be dul se bap. Either way, it’s delicious!
And not only is it delicious, but also very healthy! And the good thing is, that these kinds of dishes do not require strict recipes, but allow for a lot of creativity.
And as a bonus, here is a quote from Dr. Tae Yun Kim‘s new book, “Seven Steps to Inner Power, how to break through to awesome!” I just happened to read this one today and I thought you might like it as much as I did.
“You can determine each day, then, to get to know yourself a little better and get to know what’s true for you – and have fun doing it. You can live with a sense of excitement, wonder, and gratitude. Nobody is going to charge you more taxes for being happy. Appreciate every day you are given as an occasion to learn to love – to love who you are, to love others, to connect with your authentic self. You have an opportunity each day to fall in love with the real you, to get to know who you are – your body, your hands, your feet, your eyes, your heart, your entire being – inside and out.”