Dried Anju. We’re talking dried squid, jwipo and anchovies. Not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of beer. But in the old days of Korean, it was the go-to snacks for late-night drinking. Today, I will show you how to prep classic Korean anju.
The classic go-to anju is dried squid.
Korean marts will sell them whole. Treat it like jerky – rip it apart with your fingers and chew it down. Unlike beef jerky, squid jerky has much more of a chew. So homecooks will turn on their kitchen gas stove and drag it over the open flames. The open flame will scorch the meat and make it easier to chew.
I think there is a better way to make it tender: Take out a large frying pan. Place in 2 cups of water and add 1T of sugar. Bring it up to boil, then turn off the heat. Place in the dried squid and let it soak for 10 minutes. Afterwards, pat it down dry with a paper towel. Then peel it and munch on it. It requires a few more steps but you will notice that the meat is much more tender.
The second classic anju is dried filefish. In Korean, we call it Jwipo (쥐포).
Jwipo is dried fish jerky made from filefish. It’s made by layering thin strips of filet into a circular mold and then leaving it out to dry in the sun. It’s then brushed with a slightly sweet glaze.
To prep Jwipo: Turn on a gas stove and run it across open flames. Do it until the meat starts to scorch and gets crispy on the edges. The heat will tenderize the meat and add flavor.
The third snack is dried anchovies.
Koreans love to munch on small dried anchovies when drinking. (Note: These anchovies are small and NOT the large ones used for making broth). They’re still served at old-school sooljips in Seoul. I think they taste best if you dip it in some spicy Gochujang paste. That’s true Korean style 🙂
Now that you know more about these old-school snacks, it may be easier to try.
Happy Friday everybody… enjoy life!