Friday, February 25, 2011

Korean Side Dishes- Spinach and Spicy Cucumber Salad

I love eating Korean food, but since there aren't that many Korean restaurants in the Northeast I've had to make it myself.  It's not as good as what we get in Garden Grove, but it's good enough anytime we need a fix.

Two of my favorite sides are seasoned spinach and spicy cucumber salad.  The spinach works well in bibimbap, and the spicy cucumber salad is more like a cucumber kimchi.  One of my friends got me a Progressive grater set to help me slice the cucumbers and I am forever grateful!  If she lived closer I'd make her Korean food anytime she wanted it. 

Thanks to Jenny Kwak, author of Dok Suni, for the recipe!  Many more to come.

Seasoned Spinach

1 pound fresh spinach
1 tsp Coarse salt

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame salt
1 tsp crushed garlic
½ tsp minced scallion
1 ½ tsps red pepper sauce
1 ½ tsps vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar

  1. Prepare spinach by cutting off the roots and separating the leaves
  2. In boiling water, dissolve 1 tsp of salt and blanch the spinach for no more than 1 minute.  Turn the spinach over once in the boiling water and strain immediately.  Rinse thoroughly with water.  Keep aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients for seasoning the spinach.  Then add the spinach and toss with your hands in a massaging motion.

Spicy Cucumber Salad

1 ½ pounds Kirby or Korean Cucumbers
2 tbsps coarse salt
1 ½ tbsps red pepper flakes
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame salt
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar

  1. Slice cucumber into thin rounds.  Use a food slicer to make it easier.  In a mixing bowl, evenly sprinkle the coarse salt on the cucumber.  Allow it to sit for 20 minutes.  The salt not only helps to season the cucumber but also to absorb the water from the cucumber.
  2. Strain the cucumber.  (use a wire strainer, putting a heavy object on the cucumber to press out excessive water.)  After the cucumber has been strained, keep it aside in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, sesame salt, garlic, sesame oil, and sugar.  Then combine the dressing with the cucumber and toss, using your hands to mix in the seasonings evenly.  Serive it whenever you like, but keep it chilled.

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