Aquaponic Kitchen

Jap Chae and Banchan

Kim chi made from aquaponic chard inspires a Korean meal


Korean Lunch - Jap Chae with Banchan

Faced with an overabundance of chard several weeks ago, we experimented with lacto-fermentation to create some flavorful pickles. By far the most successful result was the spicy Korean kim chi we made from chard stems and leaves. After several weeks fermenting, the kim chi was full of flavor and ready to eat. While kim chi is usually an accompaniment to a meal, this time we were challenged to come up with a meal to accompany our kim chi.


Chard Kim Chi - Kim chi made from lacto-fermented aquaponic chard

Jap chae is a Korean dish featuring vegetables and a small amount of beef stir-fried together with glassy noodles made from sweet potato, served over rice. Flavorful, filling and budget-friendly, this dish was an ideal choice to feed over two dozen hungry Mediamatic members. We made one version with beef, and another vegetarian version substituting tofu.


Jap Chae - Jap Chae, made with aquaponic basil and New Zealand spinach diana

Korean food is traditionally served with myriad small sides called "banchan". These may include small dishes of pickles (such as kim chi), salads, vegetables and potatoes. In addition to our kim chi, I prepared five other banchan:

Miso-roasted mini potatoes:


Miso Roasted Potatoes - Korean-style banchan of mini-potatoes marinated overnight in brown sugar and miso paste, then roasted

Spicy ginger carrots:


Spicy Ginger Carrots - Korean-style banchan of carrots cooked in garlic, ginger and red pepper

Lightly marinated cucumber (also aquaponic!):


Marinated Ginger Cucumber Salad - Aquaponic cucumber banchan marinated in ginger, salt and rice vinegar

Kombu (seaweed) with ginger and sesame seeds:


Kombu with Sesame Seeds - Korean banchan of seaweed with sesame seeds

Bean sprouts in rice vinegar and sesame oil, similar to Japanese sunemono:


Marinated Bean Sprouts and Gochujang - Korean banchan of lightly-marinated bean sprouts and side dish of "gochujang" (spicy red pepper paste)

Of course, no Korean meal would be complete without one of the cuisine's signature flavors, the spicy roasted red pepper paste known as "gochujang". Since the intense spiciness of the variety on hand was not for everybody, we served a bowl of gochujang on the side.