What could be more tantalising than sweet and sticky baby potatoes braised to absolute perfection? This Korean braised potato side dish is slightly charred and crispy on the outside while soft and warm on the inside.
Why You’ll Love This Side Dish
What could be more delicious than sticky sweet baby potatoes braised in an umami soy sauce braising sauce? This Korean side dish is not your typical potato side dish but is fantastic because it’s not spicy, like many Korean side dishes are, not pickled, and it’s one the kids will love.
Gamja jorim is also incredibly versatile. They don’t have to be just for Korean food. You can make this potato side dish for any meal, and you better believe that it will be gobbled up quite quickly!
What is Gamja Jorim?
“Gamja” means potato in Korean, while “jorim” means braised or stewed.
This Korean side dish is a sticky, sweet braised potato banchan that is exceptionally delicious with many Korean main dishes.
Of all the popular Korean side dishes, gamja jorim is the one Korean banchan with the most varying recipes and appearances. There are quite a few different ways to make this recipe; however, the common denominator is that it is stewed in some soy sauce braising sauce.
For our version of the gorim jorim, we are going to braise whole baby potatoes, with their skin on, in a deep fry pan until the soy sauce braising sauce reduces to a sticky, sweet finish.
We are not going to peel them, cut them into cubes and stew them in a liquid sauce with other vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers or mushrooms.
Instead, we want the skin of the baby potatoes to have a bit of a char, so it crisps up a little on the outside while the sauce slowly cooks the inside to a soft consistency.
Which Baby Potatoes to Use?
The best baby potatoes to use for this Korean braised potato side dish would be waxy potatoes. As we are cooking these mini potatoes whole, we want them to keep their shape and not fall apart. Their skin is thin, which allows good charring while still being able to cook through properly.
Starchy potatoes tend to be too floury, and their internal structure may crumble when it gets too soft.
Some great waxy baby potatoes to use include Red Skin, New, Fingerling, Charlotte, Anya and Jersey Royal.
Ideal Size of Baby Potato?
The ideal size of the baby potato would pretty much be as small as possible. If you can get them the size of a ping pong/table tennis ball or smaller, you’re doing well. When you’re selecting them, select the smallest ones you can find.
The smaller they are, the faster they will cook. And it also means that the people you’re feeding will be able to have more than 1 or 2. The outside of the potato is so delicious, so you’d definitely want more than 1!
Flavour/Texture: The first thing you’ll notice is that this Korean potato side dish is sweet. As the bay potatoes are slowly braised in sweet soya sauce, the sauce reduces over time and becomes slightly caramelised. As the sweetness settles on the skin of the baby potatoes, it creates a potato side dish worth coming back for more.
As the baby potatoes are fried for the first 20 to 25 minutes in hot oil, it gives them a chance to crisp up the outer skin and gives it a nice char. The braising sauce is then poured over the baby potatoes, and this is when the magic happens as the flesh slowly cooks away to a soft consistency.
Ease: The most you’re doing here is constantly stirring the baby potatoes in a frypan over medium heat. Or you can pick up the frypan and give it a little shake. Then, mix up the sauce and pour over, and that’s it!
Time: This Korean side dish does take some time. Unlike the other Korean banchan, where everything is pretty much just mix and toss, this requires some cooking.
As you’re only cooking over medium heat to not burn the baby potatoes or the soy sauce braising sauce, you will need time to allow it to cook through and caramelise. But wow, so worth it!
Ingredients you will need to make Korean Braised Potatoes – Gamja Jorim.
Baby potatoes: These need to be waxy mini potatoes. Avoid starchy potatoes as they don’t hold their shape, and you want to serve these whole. The smaller in size, the better!
Avocado oil: Any vegetable oil will be fine for frying these up, although avocado oil doesn’t have strong smells when introduced to heat, which is great for not overpowering dishes.
Water: Required for the braising sauce.
Soy sauce: You want good quality umami soy sauce for the braising sauce. Let the dark coloured sauce permeate through to the baby potatoes.
Rice wine: Will need some cooking rice wine for the braising sauce. Any Asian rice wine will work for this recipe. Doesn’t have to be specifically Shaoxing, mirin or Cheongju.
Brown sugar: Gives the braising sauce lovely caramel flavours as they reduce and stick onto the baby potatoes.
Honey: Only added in the last step of the cooking process to really give it those sweet and sticky finishes.
Sesame oil: Give this potato side dish some aromatic flavours. Nothing can quite replace sesame oil.
Sesame seeds: The sesame seeds stick onto the braised mini potatoes perfectly. Gives the side dish extra texture.
Step by step instructions for how to make Korean Braised Potatoes – Gamja Jorim.
Give the baby potatoes a wash but don’t scrub the skin too hard. Waxy potatoes have thin skin, and you want it to remain intact.
Place a deep fry pan on medium heat and add 2 tbsp of avocado oil.
Add the baby potatoes and constantly stir or toss for 20-25 minutes.
In a small mixing bowl, add water, soy sauce, rice wine and brown sugar. Mix until well combined.
Add the soy sauce braising sauce to the frypan. Bring down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Consistently stir the baby potatoes over that time, so they don’t stick.
Then add the honey, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Let it simmer for a further 15 minutes. Keep stirring every few minutes.
Once reduced to a slightly thick consistency, place the baby potatoes in a bowl and pour remaining sauce on top.
Variations and Substitutions
No baby potatoes: If you aren’t able to find baby potatoes, just get any waxy potato you can find. Totally ok if you have to cut them in half or quarters. It will still be delicious!
Type of vegetable oil: You can use any vegetable oil for this recipe. Avocado oil is always our preferred cooking oil as it can withstand heat, and it doesn’t have a strong smell that could overpower a dish.
Vegan recipe: For a vegan option, use maple syrup or organic rice malt syrup instead of honey.
Gluten free recipe: For a gluten free recipe, replace soy sauce with tamari.
Type of rice wine: You can use any rice wine for this recipe. You can use Korean rice wine (cheongju), Japanese rice wine (mirin) or Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing).
No brown sugar: Any sugar will also work, although the brown sugar has a wonderful caramel flavour, which would work best. But if you don’t have any, just regular granulated sugar will work.
Great Mains for This Side Dish
Looking for recipes of how to serve this Korean Braised Potatoes – Gamja Jorim?
Beef bulgogi: Bulgogi is the most popular Korean Grilled BBQ Beef dish that is made from marinated thin slices of beef that’s traditionally grilled over an open flame. It is sweet and salty with garlicky soy sauce. Best served with a few Korean side dishes and steaming hot rice.
Korean fried chicken: This Korean fried chicken is chicken thighs in a crispy coating that are tossed in a sweet, spicy and savory sauce. Finger licking good, serve it up with some Korean side dishes to balance out the flavours.
Japchae: Traditional japchae is a stir-fried sweet potato noodle dish with beef and shredded vegetables. It is sweet, flavoursome and the noodles have a chewy texture. Also considered a side dish, serve it with a variety of other Korean side dishes and serve with rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can keep this Korean braised potato recipe for about 2 days out of the fridge and 4 days in the refrigerator. However, it’s not as good to eat cold, so allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Place baby potatoes with the skin on, water, soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, honey, sesame oil and sesame seeds into the Instant Pot. Set to manual Pressure Cook for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure when it’s done.
Yes, you can place the baby potatoes into the oven and roast them if you wish. The only advantage of doing so would be that you didn’t have to toss the baby potatoes in the frypan as often, and you can leave them to roast away in the oven.
You will, however, still need to reduce the soy sauce braising sauce. You can add the roasted baby potatoes towards the end and allow it to caramelise, or just pour the sauce on top.
While this Korean banchan recipe may take a little longer than most, we have no doubt it will become a family favourite. Sticky sweet braised baby potatoes. How could any other side dishes with potatoes sound any more delicious?
More Korean Side Dishes Recipes (Banchan 반찬)
Here are more Korean side dishes you can make at in the comfort of your own kitchen:
- Korean Braised Potatoes – Gamja Jorim (감자조림)
- Korean Pickled Radish – Chicken-mu (치킨무)
- Korean Zucchini Side Dish – Hobak Bokkeum (호박 볶음)
- Korean Steamed Eggplant Side Dish – Gaji Namul (가지 나물)
- Korean Cucumber Salad – Oi Muchim (오이무침)
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Korean Braised Potatoes – Gamja Jorim (감자조림)
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- Give the baby potatoes a wash but don’t scrub the skin too hard. Waxy potatoes have thin skin, and you want it to remain intact.
- Place a deep fry pan on medium heat and add 2 tbsp of avocado oil.
- Add the baby potatoes and constantly stir or toss for 20-25 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, add water, soy sauce, rice wine and brown sugar. Mix until well combined.
- Add the soy sauce braising sauce to the fry pan. Bring down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Consistently stir the baby potatoes over that time so they don’t stick.
- Then add the honey, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Let it simmer for a further 15 minutes. Keep stirring every few minutes.
- Once reduced to a slightly thick consistency, place the baby potatoes in a bowl and pour remaining sauce on top.
- If you aren’t able to find baby potatoes, just get any waxy potato you can find. Totally ok if you have to cut them in half or quarters. It will still be delicious!
- You can use any vegetable oil for this recipe.
- For a vegan option, use maple syrup or organic rice malt syrup instead of honey.
- For a gluten free recipe, replace soy sauce with tamari.
- You can use any rice wine for this recipe. You can use Korean rice wine (cheongju), Japanese rice wine (mirin) or Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing).
- Any sugar will also work, although the brown sugar has a wonderful caramel flavour, which would work best. But if you don’t have any, just regular granulated sugar will work.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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