What Is Jorim?

Eugene P.

In Korean cooking, the term "jorim" is used to refer to food that has been braised, or cooked in a sauce. Nearly any food or combination of foods can be made in the jorim style, but a few types have become more popular than others. Tofu is one of the most common varieties, along with mackerel, potato and lotus root. The ingredients used in the sauce can vary but generally include soy sauce, garlic and sugar. The finished dishes usually have a thick coating of sauce over their surface, although certain preparations use more sauce than others, giving the food a soup-like appearance when served.

Lotus root is usually part of jorim.
Lotus root is usually part of jorim.

The actual cooking process for jorim can take place in one of two ways. The simplest way is to place the ingredients in a pan with the sauce and cook the mixture until everything is done and the sauce has reduced. A method that is more frequently employed, especially with tofu, is to first brown the ingredients in the pan to develop texture and then complete the cooking in the sauce.

Anchovy stock can be used to create a deep flavor for the sauce that accompanies jorim.
Anchovy stock can be used to create a deep flavor for the sauce that accompanies jorim.

The sauce used when making jorim is almost always based on Korean soy sauce, known as ganjang. This is usually tempered with some water, depending on the tastes of the cook. Other liquids, such as anchovy stock or stock made from kelp, also can be used to create a deep flavor. Rice wine and vinegar can be included in the sauce, as well, depending on the main ingredient. Hot ingredients such as red pepper flakes or fermented chilies also can be added.

Black pepper can be added to jorim for more of a kick.
Black pepper can be added to jorim for more of a kick.

Some more aromatic ingredients are frequently incorporated. Garlic and ginger are common. Scallions, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar and black pepper can be used to round out the flavors. In many recipes, the sauce cooks in the pan for only a few minutes, so thickening agents such as corn starch can be used to create the thick, glossy coating indicative of the style.

Main jorim ingredients such as firm tofu, sliced lotus root and diced potatoes are usually cooked alongside other vegetables such as carrots and onions. Some preparations have the pieces dredged in flour before being fried in oil to help them maintain a firm texture while cooking in the sauce. The completed jorim is generally considered a side dish and is usually served as such. When plated, the food can be garnished with fresh sesame seeds, sprigs of coriander or thin shreds of red pepper.

Kelp is often used as an ingredient in sauces used in Korean cooking.
Kelp is often used as an ingredient in sauces used in Korean cooking.

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