Friday, January 25, 2013

Recipe: Spicy Korean Radish Salad

I relish this radish salad! Mu saengchae is a spicy fresh slaw that's ready to eat in about an hour.
Mu saengchae (above) is a spicy slaw made with Korean radish (mu). It uses the same ingredients as fermented radish kimchee or kkakdugi (inset) but it’s served as a fresh side dish. Mu saengchae is made with Korean radish, fresh green or red pepper and scallions that are sliced into fine matchsticks, then are salted and allowed to macerate in pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar and a little vinegar. This side dish has a sweet, tart flavor that goes well with both rice and noodle dishes. At a table with many dishes, its flavor cleanses your palette between bites. Make this fresh radish slaw to serve with chili, shrimp scampi, pot roast, tuna casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts or a potato gratin. It’s an impressive side dish that’s easy to make and ready to eat in about an hour.

Mu Saengchae with Ancho Chili 
  • 1 cup Korean or Japanese radish, julienned
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 scallion, julienned
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, julienned
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Korean chili flakes, fine grade
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
In a medium size bowl add salt to sliced Korean radish, bell pepper, ginger, scallions and garlic. Mix well and let it rest for about five minutes until the radish releases liquid. Add white vinegar, sugar, powdered Korean and ancho chilies and mix well. The liquid should form a red viscous syrup. Refrigerate for at least and an hour. Sprinkle it generously with toasted sesame seeds before serving. Mu saengcha is best eaten within two days of making it, be sure to store it in an air tight container... if there’s anything left.

Mu saengchae and fried chicken are friends!A slice of challah bread tames the heat.

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