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Korean cuisine gets a swanky spin

india Updated: Oct 29, 2011 02:17 IST

If you are done with your sushi fixation and looking for something new to tickle your taste buds, give Korean fare a try. The fiery, piquant Korean flavours are slowly taking the world by storm, with experts touting Korean cuisine as the next big thing to happen to food globally. The world is fast shedding its inhibitions about Korean cuisine and no one looks at it as ‘pungent or mixed-up’ food as chefs give the cuisine a swanky spin to suit the palates of modern gourmands. New York-based international restaurant consultancy group Baum + Whiteman says in a recent report that Korean cuisine will emerge as a strong global food trend next year. Apart from high-end eateries, chain restaurants will also dole out Korean fare, says the report.

The report attributes the credit of growing popularity of Korean fare to food trucks, such as entrepreneur Roy Choi’s food truck Kogi BBQ, that’s a big draw in Los Angeles for its fusion fare — Korean Mexican tacos. French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his half-Korean wife Marja have also been popularising Korean cuisine in their PBS series Kimchi Chronicles, that takes viewers through South Korea, highlighting the country’s regional specialities.

City’s newfound love?
Closer home, there may not be too many options for trying out Korean food, but the Capital is surely catching up on the global trend. The hot, spicy Korean flavours and the abundance of barbecued meat in the cuisine has earned it the votes of Delhiites, say chefs.

Chef Parampreet Luthra of Shiro, who serves quite a few Korean dishes in the restaurant, says, “We started off with a few basic dishes and expanded our selection looking at the growing interest that Delhiites are showing in the cuisine. People are bored of Thai and Chinese fare, which they have been eating since ages, and are now more than willing to explore new cuisine.” The different variations of kimchee such as the bean sprout, radish or spinach kimchi along with chicken bulgogi or the kimchijeon — a pancakish dish made with kimchi, flour, and meat or veggies, are some of the Korean items that you’ll find on the Shiro menu.

Sampan, the pan Asian restaurant at the Suryaa will also soon introduce Korean dishes. “People are showing keen interest in cuisine such as Burmese and Balinese. That’s given us the confidence to experiment with Korean. We are working on dishes such as Korean hot pot, kimchee and of course lots of barbecued meat,” says chef Devraj Halder, The Suryaa. At Asia 7, you will find dishes such as bulgogi and bibimbap that singularly draw foodies to the restaurant. “There are people who come to eat these two specialties,” says chef Sunil Dutt Rai. Chef Manav Sharma would also soon be adding on a few Korean specialities at his restaurants Blanco’s and Chilli Seasonss that already serve Vietnamese fare. “Its distinctive spicy, piquant flavours are quite likely to get a thumbs up from those who are willing to experiment,” he says.

Shara Ashraf (with inputs from relaxnews)

Decoding a Korean Platter
* Kimchee: the hot and spicy fermented cabbage dish.
* Bulgogi: Thin strips of beef perked up with chilli, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and onion and chargrilled. You can find chicken and pork version of the dish as well.
* Bibimbap: Seasoned meat or veggies arranged on steamed rice, pepped up with gochujang (chili pepper paste).
* Galbi: Beef or pork ribs cooked in Korean soya sauce, often served with vegetable.

Make kimchee at home
1/2 kg cabbage
80 gm homemade red chilli paste
40 gm roasted garlic
40 ml malted vinegar
50 gm fresh coriander
10 gm shrimp paste
20 gm chopped scallion
40 gm sugar

Mix all the above in the form of a dressing, toss chopped cabbage into it and leave overnight. Serve cold the next day as an appetiser.

(Recipe by chef Devraj Halder, The Suryaa)