Korean Pickled Onion. In Korea, we call it Yangpa Jjangajji (양파 장아찌). This recipe is one of the simpler ones – a nice stepping stone into the world of Korean pickles.
This tradition of pickling has been an integral part of Korean cuisine. During the old days, locals would get together to pickle the leftovers from a harvest. After all, this was the only way to eat vegetables through the long, frigid winters. In modern times, there is no need to do this anymore. But every year, my grandma does…
Grandma lives in the countryside of Jeolla Province. And she has her own farm that she tends to with my oldest uncle. Every fall, she invites (*forces*) all of my other uncles to come down to the countryside and help her harvest. The youngest uncle – in particular – really enjoys grouping me in as well. So I too, find my way to the countryside every year. (He’s mastered the art of guilt tripping… 👺)
After pulling onions in the field, I usually help my grandma peel and cut the onions. Within a few minutes, I never fail to have crocodile tears streaming down my face – from all of that onion juice. Last year, I decided to wear sunglasses while cutting the onions. And my uncles cracked up in unison when my grandma commented, “Seoul people are weak…” 🤣
My grandma uses a different ratio for the pickling sauce. I recollect her using a 1:1:1:1 ratio of soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and water. Then throwing in pear extract along with a few other ingredients. But I found that ratio to be too strong. So I tweaked the recipe – and I am very happy with the result. There is a nice balance in saltiness, tartness and sweetness.
This banchan can be eaten with anything. But works particularly well with Korean BBQ or meat dishes.
Try it out and let me know how you like it. If you do, perhaps I will introduce a few more pickling recipes!
Korean Pickled Onion - Too Easy!
- Onions: 2 large or 3 medium-sized
- Soy sauce - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Vinegar - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Cut onion into bite-sized pieces. Then place all of the onion pieces into an air-tight container (use a Tupperware with an airtight lid or a mason jar).
- Take out a small pot. Pour in the pickling ingredients. Bring up to boil.
- Once it comes to boil, turn it off immediately.
- While the soy sauce is hot, pour it in over the onions. It should be just enough liquid to cover the onions.
- Lock the lid and let the container sit at room temperature for 1 day.
- After 1 day, place the Tupperware into the refrigerator.
- Once chilled, it is ready to eat.
- This banchan will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks
- Cut the onions with a sharp knife to keep your eyes from watering!
- See video below for more details