Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Korean Bean Sprout Salad (Sukju Namul)

This popular Korean dish is super easy to make and delicious! Go to any Korean restaurant (BBQ or tofu house) here in SoCal and you'll be sure to get this or some iteration of it as a side dish. This is my version, which incorporates fresh red chiles and julienned cucumber. Some recipes use fresh chiles, dried chile flakes, or leave them out altogether, but I always like me some spice! The addition of cucumber was inspired by the recipe at Regardless, I've always loved mung bean sprouts,  which were a staple veggie in our household in Taiwan. Mom used to just sauté them with some minced garlic, sliced scallions and a bit of water or light stock. Yum!!!

2 12-oz. bags of mung bean sprouts
1 cup water
1 tsp. kosher salt

1 hothouse cucumber, julienned/shredded with a mandolin
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 scallion, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1-2 fresh red chiles, seeded and thinly sliced

1. Combine 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. of salt in a pan and add in the mung bean sprouts. Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. 

2. In the meantime, shred the cucumber and place in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and let sit for 15-20 minutes to extract the water from the cucumber. 

3. Pour the bean sprouts into a colander and rinse with cold water; squeeze dry and remove to a large bowl. 

4. Squeeze the shredded cucumber dry with your hands and place into the bowl of bean sprouts. Add the minced garlic, minced scallion, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 2 tsp. sesame oil, 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds and sliced red chiles. Toss all the ingredients together until combined. Can be served right away or else you can refrigerate for up to 1-2 days and serve later. 

Julienne the cucumber with a mandolin slicer (if you have one). Otherwise, just get a sharp knife and cut the cuc into matchstick-sized shreds.

Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. of salt with the cucumber and let sit 15-20 minutes to extract the water from the cucumber. 

Here's a 12-oz. bag of bean sprouts that's readily available in most of our markets here in SoCal. You'll need two of these for this recipe. They're pre-washed so you don't have to go through the hassle of cleaning and sorting the individual sprouts.  

Place the sprouts in a pan with 1 cup of water and 1/2 tsp. of salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook 3-4 minutes.  

Minced garlic and sliced red chiles. 

Rinse the cooked bean sprouts under cold water, squeeze dry with your hands and place in a large mixing bowl. Do the same with the cucumber shreds and add to the same bowl. 

Sesame oil & sesame seeds.

Add the minced garlic, scallion, sliced red chiles, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and 1/2 tsp. salt.

 Stir well to combine.

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