Ever wondered about the cousin of kimchi, 장아찌 [jang•a•ji]? 'Jang' means soy sauce, and 'aji' means pickles. These aren't your fiery, spicy pickles; they're more on the sweet side, creating a perfect harmony with a touch of vinegar. Picture this: thinly sliced and oh-so-crunchy veggies, soaking up the goodness of sesame oil, sugar, and sesame salt before landing on your plate.
Now, let's rewind a bit. Our first recorded encounter with 'jangaji' dates back to the Goryeo Era (918AD - 1392AD). They are one of the staples next to gochujang or deonjang, and soy sauce. The commonly used ingredients are cucumbers, radishes, green onions, garlic, garlic stems, perilla leaves, chili peppers, burdock roots, dandelions, mustard greens, and shepherd's purse.
But what's the magic behind jangajji? It's all about that savory crunch that adds a burst of umami to your fresh bowl of white-rice. Interestingly, this dish is more commonly eaten in the south of South Korea, especially in the Jeolla region. In the heat of the summer, it adds a refreshing bite to your palate.
Whether you're a pickling pro or a curious culinary explorer, give jangajji a go! It might just become your new favorite sidekick at the dinner table.