Love Me Some Korean
|July 25, 2011||Posted by Ashley Marie under Apps & Small Bites, Canning, Food, International Food|
I’ve come to the realization that I’m in obvious longing of last year’s trip to Asia. I spent a month in Singapore and Thailand, and after becoming accustomed to the usual breakfast of billowy white rice and hard-cooked scrambled egg stir-fry, I came home longing some good ol’ home-cooked pancakes and eggs (that weren’t overcooked). Don’t get me wrong: the food in Asia was amazing. Indescribable. I basked in it and spent my late nights (or early mornings, depending on how you look at it) at their local ‘hawker’ centers, which were stand-alone food courts that offered every type of Thai cuisine that you could imagine up–cafeteria-style–for dirt cheap (considering that $1 USD is worth almost 30 of their Baht). If you don’t believe me that the food was authentic and impressive yet far from complex, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I gained ten pounds during those thirty days on the other side of the world. Ten glorious pounds.
So now, after a year of monotonous American food (I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m still a glutton), I’ve begun to delve back into those cookbooks that I brought home from that far away place with a plan to start branching out in my tiny-yet-functional second story condo. Bahn Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) were my first feat; homemade Napa cabbage kimchi will be my next. But in between I’ve decided that I could use some Korean banchan (small dishes served with rice). My trip was too short to visit Korea, but the influence was prevalent. So it wasn’t at all strange (to me) when I woke up in the middle of the night and decided that I needed to use my pickling cucumbers instead for a spicy cucumber salad. It turned out to be light and refreshing and a nice change from the overly spicy things that I like to whip up and force my mother to eat. After I made my salad and snacked on one too many cukes, I realized that my little Korean “meal” didn’t quite make the cut because I hadn’t prepared any rice. Considering that I was back to sleep before I could even clean up the kitchen, I guess I wasn’t too concerned.
Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
(Adapted from Jeanette’s Healthy Living)
4 each small pickling cucumbers, or 2 each large
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 each large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
Combine cucumbers and salt in a colander and let sit in a bowl for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine red pepper flakes…
…and next five ingredients in a bowl. Rinse the cucumbers of excess salt and lay on paper towels to dry. Toss the cucumbers with the vinegar mixture and refrigerate. Serve with kimchi and rice!