Banchan as it is known today is quite possibly the result of Buddhist influence beginning sometime around the mid Three Kingdoms period. The dominant Kingdoms of Korea adopted Buddhism as state religions and a near Korea wide proscription against eating meat was instituted. With the banning of meat dishes, vegetable arrays rose in prominence and became the primary feature of meals. Court kitchens developed a variety of methods for preparing, cooking, and presenting these dishes to the Kings and nobles. Smaller arrays were developed by the less affluent or common people.

The Mongol invasions ended the proscriptions against meat and meat offerings again appeared in Korean meals, but nearly six centuries of primarily vegetarian fare had indelibly stamped Korean cuisine.

Did You Know

Banchan dishes fall into several broad categories, with numerous types in each category. The main categories are Kimchi, Namul, Bokkeum (wet or dry), Jorim, Jjim, and Jeon.

Kimchi is fermented vegetables, the most common of which is baechu (Napa cabbage) kimchi, seasoned with chili peppers, garlic, and salt. There are many varieties of kimchi which range from mild and somewhat sweet, to very hot and salty.

Namul is seasoned vegetable dishes. The specific name of the dish depends on the vegetable/plant used and how it is prepared.  Just about any type of edible plant or plant part (roots, leaves, stems, seeds, sprouts, petals, and fruits) can be used. Namul are typically made with minimal preparation, and may be served fresh (raw), boiled, fried, sauteed, dried, or steamed.

Bokkeum refers to stir fried or sauteed dishes. The dishes may be "dry fried" or fried in a sauce.

Jorim generally refers to dishes made of vegetables, meats, seafood, or tofu simmered in a seasoned broth or sauce.  
The sauce for jorim is mostly ganjang (soy sauce), but for some red meats or strong odored fish, gochujang or ground dried chili pepper may be added to ganjang and cooked.

Jjim refers to braised, simmered or steamed Dishes. The main ingredients, usually either meat or fish, are seasoned and simmered until the liquid is reduced and the ingredients take on the full flavor of the seasoned liquid.

Jeon (Pan-fried Delicacies), are a variety of pan-fried meats, seafood, or vegetables which are usually dredged in four and egg before frying.

Some Banchan Recipes

Bokkeum (Stir Fry)
Maneuljjong-Bokkeum (마늘종볶음)
Myeolchi-bokkeum (멸치볶음)

Jangajji 장아찌 (Pickle)
Kkaenip Jangajji (깻잎장아찌)
Maneuljong Jangajji (마늘종 장아찌)
Mujangajji (무장아찌)

Jeon 전 (Fried)
Beoseotjeon (버섯전)
Daegujeon (대구전)
Dubujeon (두부전)
Dwaejigogi_jeon (생선전)
Gajijeon (가지전) 1
Gajijeon (가지전) 2
Gamjabuchim (감자전/감자부침 )
Gamjajeon (감자전) 1
Gamjajeon (감자전/감자부침개) 2
Gogi Jeon (고기전)
Haemul Pajeon (해물파전)
Hobakjeon (호박전 ) 1
Hobakjeon (호박전) 2
Kimchijeon (김치전/김치부침개])
Nokdu Bindaetteok (녹두빈대떡)
Paengee beoseot jeon 팽이전
Pajeon (파전)
Saengseonjeon (생선전)

Jeotgal 젓갈 (Salted/Pickled Seafood)
Gejang (게장)

Jorim 조림 (Sauced/Simmered)
Dubu jorim (두부조림)
Gamja Jorim (감자조림)
Sogogi Jangjorim
Soy Sauce Beef and Egg
Goguma Mattang (고구마 맛탕)
Yeongeun Jorim (연근조림)
Ueong Jorim Jorim (우엉)

Namul 나물 (Seasoned Vegetable)
Doraji Muchim (도라지 무침)
Doraji Namul (도라지나물)
Gochunnip Namul (고춧잎나물)
Gogumasun Namul (고구마순나물)
Gosari Namul (고사리나물)
Kong Namul (콩나물)
Mindeulle Muchim
Pachae (파채)
Sigeumchi namul (시금치나물)
Ssari Beoseot Namul (싸리버섯나물 )
Sukju Namul (숙주나물)

Saengchae 생채 (Salad)
Musaengchae (무생채)
Oi Saengchae (오이생채)
Sangchu Geotjeori (상추겉절이)

Other Banchan
Gamja Saelleodeu (감자 샐러드)
Gyeranmalyee (계란 말이)
Gul Muchim 굴생채
Odeng (오뎅) 1
Odeng (오뎅) 2
Yeongeun-jeonggwa (연근정과)

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