Friday, August 31, 2012

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad

I have a good friend N, who loves everything Korean.  She waxes enthusiastic on anything from K-pop, to digital perms, to where to get the most authentic Korean food in the city.  Yes, she’s been to Korea and is going again next year.  Yes, she knows the names of all those cutie Korean singers.  Yes, she refers to Korean dishes by their proper names and not by “the yummy grilled pork that’s kinda spicy and wrapped in leaves!” like I do.

She is also really good at karaoke.  (Not that that has anything to do with Korea, because I think every country in Asia has its own karaoke culture.  And if you live in the Philippines you *know* that we are the masters :)  Woohoo!  Challenge accepted!)

Also, she hates vegetables.

This is for N.  Hopefully, a spoonful of Korean will help the vegetables go down ;)

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
(adapted from TheKitchn)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3-4 stalks green onion, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 2 medium sized or 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced

- Whisk together all the ingredients except for the cucumber.  When the dressing is well-combined and the chili paste dissolved, add the cucumbers and toss to coat.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.

I had actually bookmarked this recipe a while back because, well, because I like anything chili-flecked and pickley.  So onto my Pinterest Crave board it went (if you’d like to see what else I’m pinning feel free to follow my boards here).  I hemmed and hawed because I didn’t have any gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder) and had yet to buy some.  Finally, with a lone cucumber lamenting its sorry state in my crisper, I realized I had to make do with what I had on hand.  And what I did have on hand was gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste).  Hmmm.  Can do.  I whipped up the dressing above the rest was history.  We had this with some five-spice fried chicken and, between C and I, this was finished in no time flat.  The contrast between the cucumber’s cool crunch and the spiciness of the dressing is what makes this salad a winner.  I imagine this will work wonderfully with any grilled meat or fish…from Gogi Gui (Korean barbecue) to our own local Pinoy pork barbecue.

Next week I promise you another round-up of links, but since we are on the topic of Korean food, here is my favorite Korean food blog.  If you are interested at all about Korean cooking, Eating and Living is a definite must-click. 

N and I are planning a Korean barbecue soon.  I’ll bring this salad and some marinated kalbi (beef ribs).  N with bring the pork and the music.  We’ll rustle up some soju.  Suggestions for other dishes are welcome!  It’s the weekend folks…let’s party!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful side dish! This salad looks mouthwatering.



Zane and Van said...

Just looking at this side dish is invigorating! It's perfect for summer and the warmer months :)

Eileen said...

What an interesting and simple salad! Cucumbers and hot chili sound like a perfect combination--refreshing and spicy all at once.

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

We're having a party this long weekend in Toronto...and we're serving up some homemade Korean-inspired dishes. Well, actually, Momofuku-inspired dishes! We're having some homemade kimchi, kalbi (my specialty), fuji apple salad in kimchi and blue cheese dressing...hehehe. If you have the Momofuku cookbook, David Chang has many pickling recipes in there! Yours do look fantastic, though! The addition of gochujang is awesome - my fave chili paste! Have a wonderful weekend, Joey!

Midge said...

Ooh, I can imagine how yummy this salad would be beside some homespun bulgogi and rice. (And leftover salad and bulgogi can be lumped into a warmed baguette the next day for a spot-on glorious sandwich ;) Incidentally, let me share my bulgogi recipe with you here:

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Rosa!

Hi Zane and Van! It is perfect for warm weather...cooling but at the same time with a spicy kick :)

Hi Eileen! It's a great contrast! :)

Hi Jen! What a fantastic sounding party! And I really, really must get that cookbook!! Gochujang is truly awesome, I agree!

Hi Midge! It would definitely be a good match for some bulgogi...will check out your recipe!

Junglefrog said...

That sounds lovely. I've only tried making Korean once and... Well, let's say it was less then successful! But I'm gonna give it another go!

Marjorie Gavan said...

oh man! if only i eat cucumber :(

ChichaJo said...

Hi Simone! Yes, do give it another's a great cuisine and so nice to be able to have it at home :)

Hi Marjorie! I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of cucumber (aside from juice -- I love cucumber juice) but I love this salad! :)

kaoko said...

I love cucumbers! Definitely looking forward to trying this. Really soon, I hope.

Lula said...

fyi I have been trying some of your recipes and they're life changing! :P

Owlhaven said...

We love Korean food too!
Inquiring minds want to know: what kind of flowering something did you use for garnish? So cute.

Mary, momma to many including 2 boys from Korea and 4 girls from Ethiopia

Jessica Bourke said...

My korean sister-in-law has converted me to kim-chi, so I'm sure this cucumber recipe would be a great brunch option to try out :)

WizzyTheStick said...

I love a pickled cucumber salad. This one has some lovely unexpected flavours so I am sure I would love it.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kaoko! Try it! If you like cucumbers (and Asian flavors) I am sure you will enjoy this :)

Hi Lula! So happy to hear that! Thanks for letting me know! :)

Hi Mary! Let me first say, you are awesome! :) The garnish is actually the flowering part of the green onions that I used :)

Hi Jessica! I love kimchi to bits and beyond! This is a great salad to have alongside a brunch spread :)

Hi Wizzy! I love the spiciness and Asian slant of this salad...hope you will too!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing...