Today I have one great recipe. I can’t claim credit for this one, though. This was shared with me by Young-Ho Yoon, a local pediatrician and sometimes Teaching Attending (a very good one at that) to pediatric residents at MGHfC. He shared the recipes for some Korean-American veggie dishes, and I was a pretty big fan. This one, in particular, is too good not to share. There, are, however, some disclaimers. When he shared the recipes, he didn’t give me exact amounts; rather, he gave me the ingredients and a general idea of how much of each to add. I basically added things until it tasted right, and just measured along the way. Young-Ho, I hope this is what you had in mind! Another note is that he told me to add chili flakes, but instead I used Sambal Oelek, which is an Asian chili paste. This is because I have a huge jar of it that I can’t seem to use up. You can use chili flakes instead. Also, he told me to use scallions in the salad, but I didn’t have them. Oops.
Some of these ingredients may sound foreign to many of you. Things like rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Sambal Oelek aren’t things that most people have in their houses. That being said, I recommend buying at least the first two. They make great additions to lots of dishes: meat, veggies, noodles, rice, etc. The same goes for a bunch of other Asian pantry items: soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce (lots of sauces I’m noticing), etc. If you live near Chinatown (anywhere, not just in Boston), go to one of the markets there and walk around. That’s how I discovered most of this stuff. Plus, it’s much cheaper and of better quality than the items in the “International Aisle” at your local supermarket.
Enough rambling. Here’s how to make the cucumber salad.
Start by thinly slicing a cucumber. I think this was sliced too thickly, so aim for thinner than this.
In a bowl, combine the cucumber, sugar, and salt. Use your hands to mix it around, then let it rest for about 10 minutes. Pour everything into a strainer to remove the extra liquid. Return the cucumbers to a bowl, and add the rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and Sambal Oelek (or chili flakes). Stir together. You’re done!
Korean-Style Cucumber Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes
(Optional: One scallion, white and green parts sliced, for garnish)
In a bowl, combine the cucumber, sugar, and salt. Stir (I used my hands), then let it rest for about 10 minutes. Pour the cucumbers into a strainer to remove the extra liquid. Return the cucumbers to a bowl, and add the rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and Sambal Oelek (or chili flakes). Stir together. Garnish with sliced scallions if desired.