Quick and Easy Korean Side Dishes (Banchan)

Add Asian flair to any meal with these traditional dishes

Almost all Korean meals are served with anywhere from 2 to 12 side dishes, known as banchan. With that in mind, it's easy to see why whipping up a Korean menu can seem like a daunting task if you're in a hurry or pressed for time. You might be surprised, though, that you probably have at least a few of the ingredients in your fridge or pantry needed to make some of these side dishes from spicy pickles to rolled egg omelettes.

  • 01 of 09
    Salad

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    This is an easy Korean salad that is somewhat of a replacement for kimchi made with Western cabbage (yang baechu) since Korean cabbage can be difficult to find. 

    Fortunately, today, since bagged coleslaw mix is readily available, this Korean coleslaw is downright easy to make. Instead of mayo the dressing is a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar, making it a light side dish that pairs well with both picnic food and Korean meals.

  • 02 of 09
    Steamed chicken's egg

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    Silky and smooth in texture, this quick and easy steamed egg dish may become not only a favorite Korean side but also a breakfast dish. The eggs are whisked with water, salt, and scallions and then steamed either on the stove for 10 minutes​ or in the microwave for just 4 minutes. Feel free to add other seasonings or vegetables and herbs to the eggs before cooking.

  • 03 of 09

    Easy to make, this Korean scallion pancake recipe is always a big hit at any gathering. Perfect as a side dish to a Korean or Asian meal, you can also serve it as a hearty snack or an appetizer. A simple batter of flour, eggs, water, and scallions is mixed together and then fried as one large pancake in a skillet. Serve with soy sauce or a spicy dipping sauce.

     

  • 04 of 09
    Korean cucumber salad

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    If you like cucumbers or pickles, you will love this sweet and salty Korean pickle salad. With just 4 ingredients and 20 minutes to prepare, you will have a crunchy side dish perfect for your Korean style meal. The recipe calls for small Korean cucumbers but you can substitute small Kirby cucumbers if need be.

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  • 05 of 09

    Gaeran mari is as easy as any American omelette but is rolled up to create a beautiful side dish for any meal. Healthy and delicious, this Korean rolled egg omelette is filled with onion, carrot, and seaweed, but you can substitute Western-style omelette ingredients such as cheese, ham, and spinach.

  • 06 of 09
    Spring onions

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    This simple salad is ideal for serving alongside grilled foods like fish, meat, and pork as it adds a nice crunch and vibrant color to the plate. Scallions are first soaked in cold water to bring out their crispness and then tossed with a mixture of sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and Korean chili powder. The result is a side dish packed with flavor that was a cinch to put together.

  • 07 of 09
    Bean Sprout Salad

    One of the most popular side dishes in Korea, sookju namul can complement almost any Korean meal. It is delicious, fresh, healthy, and easy to make, calling for many Asian ingredients you may have in your pantry. Mung bean sprouts are parboiled, drained, and then mixed with scallions, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, making for a simple but tasty side dish.

  • 08 of 09
    Spicy Seafood Salad
    Naomi Imatome

    The Korean love affair with chili peppers is well known, so it should be no surprise that this cuisine features the chili spice in Western-style dishes like tossed salads. This spicy Korean dressing is perfect when tossed in a seafood salad, but is equally delicious drizzled over a bed of greens. The mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and kochukaru (Korean red chili pepper powder) complements shrimp and squid particularly but is also excellent with abalone, scallops, tuna, or a...MORE variety of different seafood.

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  • 09 of 09

    This may not be the most impressive looking banchan, but it is very tasty and can get addictive. Crunchy and salty, Manul changachi (Korean pickled garlic) is also a little bit spicy. Garlic cloves are combined with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine and left to sit for 3 weeks for the flavors to meld. What results is a very flavorful dish that can be added to rice or noodles for extra zing.