Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Try Korean cooking: Easy salad dressing/dipping sauce

Do you like Korean food? Want to try making some at home? It's much easier than you think.

I decided to post a very easy recipe for a sauce I use as salad dressing and a dipping sauce. It's a classic Korean sauce, with a salty, spicy, vinegary taste. It's so easy. If you can't make this then, seriously, (and I say this out of love) you should give up cooking.

Always lurking.
 This versatile sauce is used for many things in Korea. It can be a dipping sauce for pan fried foods, as a dressing for salad, as an accompaniment to rice, and it's also a sauce for one of my favourite side dishes, acorn jelly (I'll explain that one another time).

Continue to the recipe after the jump!

What do you need?

Before you start googling for the nearest Korean grocery shop, I chose this recipe first because you can make it without any special Korean ingredients and a lot of the ingredients are optional. The most important ones are the soy sauce and vinegar. Got those? Then you've got yourself a dipping sauce. Mixing about half soy and half vinegar is a basic sauce Koreans use to dip their dumplings in.

I don't usually measure my ingredients, I just make it  by tasting it as I go and experience. I checked online and  saw many variations of the ingredients and measurements for recipe. Some of them have sesame seeds and oil, some don't etc. Just go with what you have. My message is (and this goes for all cooking) It's really up to your own taste. If you don't like garlic, leave it out. If you like vinegar, add more. Just make it, try it and then add more of the flavours you like.

Let's do this.


2 tablespoons normal soy sauce.
1 tablespoon vinegar. (I'm using brown rice vinegar. Plain white vinegar, apple cider vinegar  or other sour vinegars are fine too. My husband made it with balsamic once  and thought it was awesome - I disagreed).
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots/green onions/spring onions/scallions whatever you call them. In Korea they are called "pa" (much simpler!) and are used in everything.
1 teaspoon crushed garlic - leave it out if you don't like strong garlic flavour.
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes - called "gotchu garu" in Korea. You can substitute a little chopped fresh chilli or chilli powder or just leave it out if you don't like spicy food.
1 teaspoon sesame oil - optional.
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds - optional. Some recipes tell you to toast and crush them. I have pre-toasted ones and don't bother crushing them.
1/2-1 teaspoon sugar - I don't like it sweet, so I usually leave out the sugar but put some in and see if you like it. Put more in if you think it needs it.
Add water if it's too strong, especially if you are using it for salad dressing.

Dried chili flakes and toasted sesame seeds
Chopped pa

Now for the really tricky part. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together.


Here I'm using the sauce in 3 ways:

 As a dressing on a salad.

Atonement for the cinnamon roll I ate earlier today.
As a sauce for steamed tofu

Put tofu into boiling water for 10 minutes and drain.

And as a dipping sauce for fried fish

I'll try licking my lips. Gah! Can't they take a hint?

Daddy, look into my eyes, look deep into my eyes...... after I count to three, you will feel the compulsion to give me that  piece of fish.One, two....

Because soy sauce is a natural preservative, theoretically, this sauce can be stored 'indefinitely' in the fridge. I'm not 100% certain on that fact because we use it so often, it usually doesn't last long!

I hope you enjoyed my first recipe post.  If you try this recipe, leave some feedback in the comments section and let me know how you liked it.  

Much love from Bunja and his Mummy xx


  1. Im enjoying so much your blog and not only me,the whole Family��. For sure I'm going to try during the weekend to cook and use your recipe. I see my Lord Bunja in the pictures eyeballing the food�� does he eats some of the food you cook? Thank you for sharing with us your stories ���� kisses to little B ������✌❤

    1. Great! Let me know how you like it ^_^

  2. You made this so beautifully simple, thank you! I can't wait to give this a go, hopefully it won't go wrong. I'm loving the blog, keep it up!

    Hugs to little B.
    Chelsea (Ginny the lazy JRT's mum) x

    1. On reflection it seems way to wordy for a simple recipe! I'll try to keep it shorter next time. I hope you try it and actually like it too ^_^

  3. Thanks for sharing this, I'm definitely gonna give it a go (love Bunja's lil head peeping at the food and schmacking his lips lol...) Fingers crossed I don't stuff it up (I can even make instant noodles taste bad *hangs head in shame*)! Look forward to more recipes, Korean food is expensive in Melbourne!

    Have a great day!
    Amy - applefruitini

    1. You won't stuff it up. I hope you like it. I know how expensive Korean food is in Australia. It's quite ridiculous! >$30 a head for BBQ?! Here its about $10, with WAY more everything and unlimited side dishes. When I visit home, my family is always excited when I cook them Korean food.

    2. Happy to report back that it was a success! We had it with dumplings, salad and the steam tofu dish over the weekend and the sauce just made everything taste so much better! I've printed the recipe out and its stuck proudly on my fridge for the next batch lol...
      Wow unlimited side dishes in Korea, we have to pay $1.00 extra for each (tiny) side dish refill.
      Your family is very blessed to have you cook for them, hope to see more recipes soon, thanks again!

      Amy - applefruitini

    3. Thanks Amy! So great to know that you enjoyed it. I read out your comment to my husband that he was "blessed" to have my cooking just to remind him how lucky he is ^_~

      I was thinking of making Korean spicy chicken stew for my next recipe post (called "Takdoritang") I hope you like that one too.


  4. I've been following you in instagram, viddy and this blog (in the shadows) for a while now. Just love Bunja's photos and videos! He's a knockout! :3

    Just passed to say that I'm really looking forward to more photos of Bunja and Korean food recipes! I've been dying to learn some recipes, and I actually made some of this sauce last night (made fried fish as well) and it was delicious! You explained in a easy, simple way. It was much better than eating only with soy sauce ^_^

    If you plan on someday on posting more recipes, I'd like to make a suggestion. Could you please post on how to make sauce for Buldak and Jayook Bokum? Do they use the same kind of sauce or are they different?


    1. Thanks so much for comments and feedback. I'm so happy you tried it and enjoyed it!

      With regard to your request, I must admit, I don't know. I will ask my mother-in-law and get back to you.

      I was considering takdoritang for my next recipie post. It's a spicy chicken stew with potatoes. I hope you try that one too ^_^

    2. Yup! I made more and there's a ton in the fridge now! My father loved it, and now he eats almost everything with this sauce! lol

      I'd really appreciate if you post on these. I'm gonna look forward! Besides, from your dinner photos on IG you look like a really good cook! ^_^

      Please do! I'd love to try takdoritang!!


  5. soo gonna try this on saturday! you explained it very well! cant wait to try it!

  6. Love this blog and bunja so much , will try soon !
    Thank you for sharing of coz the story of bunja

    Msmiumiu ( ur ig fans)

  7. Love your blog! And little B!

  8. Ooooooh, I am absolutely going to try this!!! It looks delicious, as Bunja so kindly pointed out with the lip smacking! I'm going to try it for salad first, and will let you know how I make out!

    Thanks Kristie!


    1. Hi Meg,

      Thanks for checking out my blog and let me know how it goes! I hope you like it as much as I do.


  9. There is a sauce I get with fried dumplings at the chinese takeout that I just can't get enough of. This seems to be almost exact. I am going to attempt to make some this week. I can't believe I just may have an unlimited supply of my favorite dipping sauce. Thanks and I love everything you do. Instagram, viddy, and now this blog. You have a gift. And of course Bunja is what ties it all together.

  10. Let me know how the recipe goes if you make the sauce. The Chinese style sauce may have fresh sliced chili in it so you could try that too.

    Sincerely, thank you for your kind comments! I'm glad I can share my life and Bunja with you.

  11. It was NOT wordy! I am pinning this for a later date. Am trying new to me foods, and you can find your recipe in my board "Dips, Dressings, Sauces, Toppings or maybe I will just make a board for my sauces, found so many!! Thank you for sharing yours, and the puppy is definitely a cutie!