Spicy Cucumber Banchan

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

Banchan (aka panchan and pronounced BAHNchahn) is a generic Korean word for "side dish," and Korean cuisine has LOTS of it - a dizzying array made from all kinds of ingredients and with all kinds of techniques. A proper Korean meal usually features at least 4 or 5 different kinds, but for efficiency's sake, I like to choose one or two that I think really complement the main dish I'm serving.

This Spicy Cucumber Banchan has converted many a cuke hater because it hits so many notes - spicy, salty, sweet, tangy and crunchy.

Spicy Cucumber Banchan
Serves 4 to 6. Easily doubled.
Time: 15 to 20 minutes active time, 20 to 25 minutes wait
Printable Version

- 1.5 pounds Persian or Kirby or English/Hothouse Cucumbers, sliced into 1/8-inch thick slices (If you don't have access to those varieties and have to use the typical large, waxy cucumbers available at most supermarkets, I suggest buying closer to 2 pounds and peeling and seeding them completely before slicing.)
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 small cloves garlic, very finely minced or grated
- 1.5 green onions, finely chopped, including the whites
- 1.5 Tablespoons sugar
- 3.5 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1.5 Tablespoons gochoogaroo (aka gochugaru) (Korean dried chili flakes) or 2.5 teaspoons of crushed red chili flakes (like the kind you get with your pizza)

1) In a large mixing bowl, toss the cucumbers with the salt and let them sit for 20 to 25 minutes while they extrude excess liquid, re-tossing once halfway just to make sure the salt does its job on all the pieces. This process helps the cucumbers retain a pickled crunch.

2) Squeeze the cucumber in fistfuls to get rid of the excess liquid (discard the liquid), and toss the cucumbers with the rest of the ingredients.

That's it! :)

If you're in a hurry, you can skip the extrusion and squeezing parts, and you'll still have a delicious salad, just without that pickled crunch.





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