On the Table with Hazel: Korean “Fried” Chicken

Photo by Hazel Oh

Well, hello there everyone — long time no nothing! I have taken a slight hiatus because whoa, the last couple months have been some TRYING times! We have been hearing about Covid-19 for months now but I never thought “we” would ever actually go into lockdown. It feels wrong to talk so cavalierly about the pandemic when so many people are suffering from both the disease and other consequences that it’s brought to the world. I want to thank all the essential workers from our healthcare professionals to our caregivers, janitors, supermarket workers, truck drivers, radio DJs, and everyone else working in these times to make the lives of those of us who are at home as normal as possible. I was at my local Pak’n’Save the other day (shout out to Mt Albert Pak’n’Save, thank you so much for all you people do!) and one of the sales assistants handed me spring onions she was stocking and I nearly cried because I’m a dramatic Leo.

Oh, and another round of applause for everyone working from home! From uni students to office workers, I don’t know how all of you seem to pound out work while being stuck at home. Also, parents with children? You guys? Absolute queens. I barely see my family at home but mixing more than 5 sentences with them exhausts me. I can’t imagine what life is like right now from having to work from home plus trying to entertain bored children to boot.

As for me, I have been trying and FAILING to stay alert and productive. Even memes about Zoom meeting makes me feel guilty and I feel like I should be improving my CV, doing online Excel courses, and learning new languages while trying to get a bigger ass by doing 30-minute full body workouts. The only way I can shut up the capitalist guilt demon is to cook elaborate semi-labour-intensive dishes I would have normally avoided cooking — faffing around in the kitchen making unnecessarily delicious foods really jogs the serotonin! One of these TLC-required babies is my Korean “Fried” Chicken. Yes, you heard it right: the viral food of 2k18, Korean Fried Chicken! Every “cool” eAtErY had their own version of Korean fried chicken and while not all of them were up to my Korean ajuma standards, definitely was a sight to see what they were passing off as Korean Fried Chicken (yes, I’m shady, and no, just because it has gochujang in it, it does not mean that it is KOREAN xoxo). And believe it or not KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) is actually super easy and my version is pretty damn foolproof, plus it doesn’t require frying! I feel like we should still eat somewhat frugally, and I can’t justify using a litre of oil just for 1 dish. Also, frying always scares me a little, which is just as well because otherwise I would be making donuts and hot chips and fried chicken every other day.

I like to use just the wings for my KFC as these babies are baked in the oven. You can use thighs and drumsticks and other parts of the chicken, but wings don’t take longer than an hour to cook in the oven and the marinating period is less than 20 minutes. Need I go on? You can use more chicken than I did in my recipe; just double the sauce so you have enough to coat every inch of the wings in the good stuff! The only important thing about these wings is that you have to keep an eye on them as they require turning during the time they bake.

I had many requests for this recipe when I posted the photos for it on my Instagram, so I hope you all have a go! The sauce is super easy and it’s pretty much the same as the one we made for my Swicy tofu! As always with my recipes, you can add as much or as little of the different flavours. More spice? More gochujang! You can’t eat spice at all? Just add a smidgen of gochujang, a little more soy sauce, ketchup, and sweetener! The key to cooking well is to improvise and TASTE everything as you go. You got this! So for your next weekly shop, grab some wings or chicken nibbles and a tub of gochujang and get cracking! My KFC is a big red dripping glossy number that will impress your whānau and your Insta followers while shutting up your capitalist guilt demon!

 

Korean “Fried” Chicken

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1.2 kg* of chicken nibbles (wings)
    • *You can double the wings but remember to double everything else in the recipe as well!

Marinade

  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of mirin (optional)
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of white pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar


Flavour coat

  • 50g of corn flour and 50g of standard flour (if you have no corn flour, you can use 100g of standard flour)
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of white pepper (if no white pepper add 2 tsp of black)
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt


Sauce

  • 1 tbsp of gochujang
  • 2 tbsp of dry sweetener of choice (like sugar)
  • 1 tsp of liquid sweetener of choice (like golden syrup or honey)
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of mirin (or water if mirin was not available)
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • 1 tsp of sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of ketchup

 

Method

Chicken prep

  1. Give the chicken wings a little rinse under the tap, then let them drain, making sure that there is no excess moisture from the wash.
  2. Pop the wings and all the marinade ingredients into a bowl. Mix well so every piece of chicken is coated in the marinade. If you are doubling the wings, I suggest that you also double the marinade.
  3. Let this rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes while you prepare the coating mixture.


Flavour coat mix and cooking the wings

  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  2. Take the wings out of the fridge. You can tell if they are ready by the colour of the flesh of the wings. They should be caramel-coloured and fragrant with the ginger and garlic.
  3. Preheat the oven to 210°C.
  4. Place a couple wings at a time into the flour mixture and make sure they are dusted well with the flour.
  5. Place the coated wings onto a baking tray, preferably with on a roasting rack so the excess can drip onto the baking tray. However, if you don’t have a roasting rack, just make sure to at least place baking paper on top of the cooking tray; this will help if the excess fat starts to smoke.
  6. Place the tray of wings on the upper middle rack of the oven. The placement is important because placing the wings on the bottom rack will slow the cooking process and will also hinder the rendering of the fat — if it’s high in the oven, the wings will cook too quickly and burn!
  7. Check the wings once 25 minutes pass, flip them to ensure even golden cooking, and give them another 25 minutes on the newly flipped side. Flip them again and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Once the wings are an even dark golden colour and no pink liquid seeps out when you poke the flesh, the wings are fully cooked. The whole cooking process should take around about an hour depending on your oven. I personally like my wings crispy and slightly overcooked so I like to leave them in the oven longer for another 6 to 10 minutes under the grill setting, but this is totally optional.


Sauce

  1. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently on low heat so the sauce thickens. The sauce is ready once the garlic and ginger is fully cooked or when the sauce is the same consistency as golden syrup.


Final steps

  1. Once the wings are out of the oven, place them in a deep bowl and smother the wings in the ready made sauce. You can toss or gently stir the sauce onto the chicken until evenly coated in the sauce!

 

Taadaa — that wasn’t so bad! Serve it hot and you can add extra sprinkles of nuts and seeds of your choice. The wings are extra tasty with beer or coke for those of you who do not drink. Enjoy!

About the author
Hazel Oh
On the Table with Hazel: Swicy Cold Noodles

Photo by Hazel Oh

Summer isn’t summer in my kitchen unless I make my swicy cold noodles. Swicy cold noodles are what I have always eaten in the summertime. Back when I use to be a littl’un in Korea, my mum would always make swicy cold noodles for a quick slap-up lunch on hot summer days. Korean summers are absolutely brutal — much much worse than it is in New Zealand — and somehow eating these spicy sweet, tangy cold noodles brought back our lost appetite. My brother and I would slurp these noodles down like they were nothing even though we could barely eat spicy food and would have to take breaks sucking on ice cubes to cool our mouths down.

The proper Korean name for this dish is actually “비빔국수” and it literally means “mixed noodles”. And it really is that simple. It’s only a little bit harder than making 2-minute noodles as there is slight chopping involved. You just boil some water, pop however much noodles you want to eat into said boiling water, cook for however long the noodle packet says so, mix all the sauce ingredients in one bowl, chuck some thinly sliced cucumber and chopped fancy lettuce, and you are done! Oh yeah, don’t forget to sprinkle a little toasted seaweed on top. But that is literally it.

I christened my noodles “swicy” again as the sauce for this little guy is pretty much identical to the sauce for the Swicy Tofu! Korean cooking is very basic once you see into the Korean food matrix. Red pill is gochujang, soy sauce, sweetener, garlic, and sesame oil and the blue pill (“brown pill” might be more appropriate) being the exact same thing but minus the gochujang. Add ginger to both sauces and there, my friends, you have the basis of most Korean cooking.

When I was testing the recipe out on my family, I decided to avoid the traditional julienne sliced cucumbers and went with a simpler thinly-sliced half moon cucumber slices instead. I preferred it this way but feel free to try both! The toasted sesame seed are optional but if you do have sesame seeds somewhere in the deep recesses of your cupboard, toast a tablespoon full on your frying pan and add it to the sauce. Sesame seeds really do provide a satisfyingly soft crunch and an extra depth to the whole dish.

Another little special touch to this dish is the toasted seaweed for the garnish! Think of this like your parmesan for a spaghetti! You literally heat up the element and when it’s hot grab the corner of the sheet of your normal sushi seaweed and quickly turn the seaweed from on side to the other until it crisps up and goes slightly lighter in colour. This makes the seaweed crisper and more flavoursome as you are caramelising the sugars in the seaweed! (Don’t call me out on my science.)

And as usual, SEASON TO TASTE! You think you won’t be able to handle the spice? Halve the gochujang! Not salty enough? More soy sauce! You can also just cancel the whole gochujang if you can’t do spice at all — soy sauce mixed noodle is totally a thing and you may omit the spice if she is not the one for you.

And lastly, go to your local Korean grocery store, ask for the staff at the counter to show you where the noodles for “비빔국수” is. JUST SHOW THEM THIS AND ZOOM IN ON THIS KOREAN! 안녕하세요, 비빔국수 면 좀 추천해 주세요, 데헷 ^^ Can’t be bothered with all this? You can probably just buy the soba noodles they sell at Countdown or something but the noodles won’t have that lovely bouncy mouth feel. Think Chinese-style thin noodles; just don’t get rice sticks and vermicelli noodles! I used a special buckwheat noodle for this particular recipe but you can use any as long as they are thin.

So here we go, I think I’ve covered everything. The hot summer days are slipping through our fingers!! How about my Swicy noodles for dinner tonight to commemorate the cheap cucumber season?

 

Ingredients

  • 200g of thin noodles of your choice


Sauce

  • 1 ½ tbsp of gochujang (can adjust to your taste or omit entirely if too spicy)
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of finely minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of  toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Veges

  • 1 whole cucumber
  • 1 whole head of fancy lettuce
  • 1 sheet of pre-toasted seaweed (instructed as above, may use more than 1 sheet)

 

Instructions

  1. Fill up your pot until it is just two inches below the rim and let it boil with the lid on.
  2. While the water is boiling, chop the cucumber into thin half moon shapes. Alternatively, you can use a julienne cutter to cut them into 5cm-long skinny strips. Wash the fancy lettuce and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set the chopped veges aside for now.
  3. When the water boils, put the noodles in. Make sure they are submerged, and keep stirring so nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the pot. Follow the cooking time as suggested on the packet.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked, you can check by trying one of the noodles — they should be bouncy. Make sure to not to boil them over the suggested cooking time! I don’t usually cook them past 4 minutes. The noodles should be thin enough to be cooked in 3ish minutes!
  5. Drain the noodles over a sieve and run them under some cold water from the tap. Then let the noodles sit in some cold water for a minute, drain again, and let them drip on a sieve
  6. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a big bowl. Add the cucumbers now as well as the cooked and drained noodles. Incorporate the noodles and the cucumbers and the sauce into one, adding the lettuce last.
  7. Toast the seaweed over a hot element as instructed above, then just after you have served a heaping bowlful for yourself, scrunch the crunchy seaweed over your noodles and enjoy!

The noodles will last overnight in a air tight container in the fridge but the texture of the noodles will change so I suggest to eat it as soon as you can! These noodles also go fantastically with Korean BBQ so get cracking! Swicy noodle it is tonight!

About the author
Hazel Oh
On the Table with Hazel: Kale Salad

Photo by Hazel Oh

I think I had a pretty eccentric upbringing for an average Korean immigrant. My mum is as Korean as she is a hippy and I still to this day feel a strange guilt when I have not eaten enough leafy greens. I have lived in Aotearoa for 10 years now, and only in the last 3 years have I frequented the “normal” doctors; before then, I didn’t even have a GP. If I was sick, I was prescribed a healthy dose of rest and a hearty ginger and garlicky jook with a vitamin C after every meal rather than a swift trip to the doc with a baggy of antibiotics. It must have worked back then because I think I was much healthier than I am now. The only downside of the hippy-influenced lifestyle is the frequent visits to many holistic “doctors” whenever I was unwell. Soothing voices and herbal remedies are all good and well until you are charged 800 dollars for some bitter root juice and sugar pills. Sorry, Mum, it is what it is — We. Were. Robbed.

I like to joke about my mum’s lifestyle a lot but I still have much to thank her for. Whenever I feel the slightest chill or feel a little under the weather, I know exactly how to look after myself. She taught me how to cook healthy on a budget: something we don’t get taught about enough today! So whenever I feel the need to “dEtOx”, I whip out an old family favourite of mine. A kale salad.

Now, don’t turn your nose up at it so quickly — my kale salad comes blanched so she is still nutritious but delicious! I also heard my mum say at some point that raw kale is too complex for our stomach to digest fully and whatever my mum says goes sooo…

I have convinced many picky sceptics of kale that kale is in fact edible and delicious with the right love and care, and I think this kale salad is the holy grail of all kale salads as it has a Korean mom’s seal of approval. That, my friends is harder than any university degree.

My dressing and the fact that I blanch the kale is the key thing that sets my kale salad apart from others. The blanching process really improves the overall texture and the flavour of kale! It also adds a pop of colour to the dull leaves that make this salad extra cute. I add cucumbers and tomatoes during the summer time as they are in season and therefore are CHEAP! During the winter, I just grate a whole carrot and that usually does the trick for me. I also think that people don’t use enough soy sauce for their salad dressing. Soy sauce has such depth in flavour and I think you are seriously missing out if you don’t incorporate it into your daily seasonings.

I like to eat this with steak or any day I feel like I’ve wreaked havoc on my body. A bag of kale is 3 dollars at my local Pak’N’Save and you can honestly enjoy a whole bag with relish with this recipe; I guarantee it. You can add any type of crunch you want to here: nuts and seeds, and if I’m feeling bold I sprinkle some cranberries and cheese just to spice it up.

You want to feel instantly healthy but only have 10 minutes to cook? My kale salad is the one for you tonight!

 

Kale Salad

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 700g of kale (a bag of kale will do)
  • 1 cup of grated carrots
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber (optional)


For the dressing

  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (optional)

 

Instructions

The dressing

  1. In your salad bowl, measure out the olive oil, soy sauce, and vinegar. Grate your clove of garlic and mix these together. Season to taste and if you want more of any of the condiments to heighten the flavour, then do so. Add the smoked paprika now if you want to.


The salad

  1. Wash your kale carefully and place it in a large bowl.
  2. Fill up your kettle to the maximum and let that boil.
  3. When the water comes to the boil, pour the hot water all over the kale. Leave it in for 20 seconds, making sure that the kale is fully submerged. The kale should go darker and brighter in green in colour and should lose its stiffness.
  4. Repeat the process if the kale still looks pale and is stiff, but this time let it sit for 10 seconds rather than 20.
  5. Drain the hot water and now let the kale rest in cold water — the colder the better. This will improve the colour and the texture. Leave it in there while you make the dressing and prep the other vegetables.
  6. Grate your carrots and put it in the salad bowl. Cut the tomatoes into bite-size wedges and put those into the bowl as well. If you are adding a cucumber, this is also the time.
  7. Now drain your kale of all water and shake off as much moisture as you can.
  8. When this is done, start chopping the kale into bite-size pieces. You can place the pieces straight into the salad bowl with the rest of the vegetables.
  9. Once you have all your vegetables in the same bowl, start tossing them together so all the pieces are evenly coated in the dressing.
  10. You can add the nuts and seeds and if you want to. I like to add some cheese at this point now or extra olive oil if I’m in the mood. You can customise it any way you want — enjoy!

 

About the author
Hazel Oh
On the Table with Hazel: Swicy Tofu

Illustration by Hazel Oh

I love tofu. It’s actually one of the first things I ever “cooked” as a child. I say cooked in quotations because I made a tofu salad for my mum when I was about 7 — my brother and I tried to “cook” the tofu in a pan, set fire to a piece of seaweed I was supposed to toast as garnish, got incredibly freaked out, and decided to make a beetroot tofu salad instead. Apparently, it was adorable to come home to two little children apologising because they made a salad instead of a stir fry.

Tofu has a special place in my heart, and I will always wax poetic about it. But whenever I do mention tofu, there is always that one person in the room saying, “ToFU Is YuCk”. First and foremost, if the only tofu you have had was in a “ScRaMbLed ToFu” that’s not on me, that’s on you. Save me the waa waa if you never had tofu cooked the right way but then have the nerve to talk smack about it. Sorry, I get madly heated when people try to come for tofu — tofu does not deserve the disrespect it often gets. But like I said above, you got it cooked wrong? Not on me — on you. (I’m still mad, huh.)

This recipe is a pride and joy of mine. It’s vegan, it’s quick and cheap (if you get your tofu from the Asian grocery store like I do), it’s sweet, it’s spicy, it has a delicious crunchy exterior and a soft juicy mouth feel, and you can pair it with eggplants or even baby bok choy, any soft fast cooking veggie of your choice really.

My Swicy Tofu™ has that same deliciously addictive sweet and spicy (hence, swicy) flavour palette of the infamous Korean fried chicken sauce. In fact, I use the same sauce to make Korean fried chicken at home! You can add less gochujang if you can’t handle spice and, of course, add more if you like it a little hot. Always remember: season to taste!

My way of cooking tofu with the coconut oil is important as it almost shallow fries the tofu, and because coconut oil has such a high smoke point it’s safer than most oils to shallow fry! Make sure you cook the tofu until the exterior is beautifully golden and crunchy. This takes longer than you’d expect as tofu carries so much water but the result is always to die for.

I eat this heaped on some freshly cooked rice but I think this would make an amazing vegan slider stuffer! Imagine this guy in a beautifully soft and airy bun, a bit of vegan mayo, and some lettuce. Looks like I got you covered for your next vegan cookout. You are most welcome.

 

Swicy Tofu

Ingredients

For the tofu

  • 1 punnet of firm tofu (700g of tofu but could be less)
  • 3 tablespoons (at least) of oil (anything but olive oil. Coconut oil is great)


For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoon of gochujang
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons of finely diced ginger
  • ½ tablespoon of minced garlic

 

Instructions

Swicy sauce

  1. First, prep the Swicy sauce. Spoon out the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix. Taste to see if the seasoning is right for you. If it is too spicy, add more sugar; if it needs more salt, add more soy sauce. You can always put less gochujang if you are worried about the spice. Set the sauce aside and prep veggies you want to add.


Tofu prep

  1. Drain all liquid from the tofu. Slice the tofu into bite-size pieces. If you have time, sprinkle coarse salt over the sliced tofu and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or even overnight. This helps to draw moisture out from the tofu, making cooking time shorter and reducing breakage.
  2. Once that’s done, place a pan on high heat. Once it reaches heat, run a generous amount of oil (at least 3 tablespoons) that is enough to cover the pan and has a depth of half a cm.
  3. Wait till the oil is hot. You can tell when the oil is ready by dropping a small piece of tofu in the oil, and if it bubbles up, the oil is ready.
  4. Now gently let place the tofu in the pan. Be careful not to burn yourself!
  5. Keep the heat high as the liquid that the tofu will release will bring the temperature of the oil down. If the tofu does not release much water, lower the heat only slightly and keep shaking the pan to prevent burning.
  6. Check to see if the bottom of the tofu is golden in colour. If so, start flipping the tofu onto the other side and repeat the process. If you wanted to add veggies that take longer, now is the time! Onions are always great and if you cut some carrots thinly that is always good too.
  7. When both sides of the tofu are golden and slightly crispy around the edges, lower the heat to about medium and pour the sauce over the tofu.
  8. Swirl the sauce over the tofu so the tofu is covered in the sauce. Cook over medium heat without the lid for 5 minutes then add your choice of quick cooking vegetables and put a lid on and cook for a further 5 minutes.

 

Serve with rice — it could even be served as a patty substitute in a burger — and you can also sprinkle nuts and or seeds for extra crunch!

About the author
Hazel Oh
Community IRL: Jiǎgǔwén (Oracle Bone Script)

Rediscover roots, learn of the origins of Chinese script


Photos courtesy of Sam Yu

Jiǎgǔwén (Chinese: 甲骨文), or oracle bone script, is the earliest form of Chinese writing.

Oracle bones are important finds relating to Chinese writing and history. The inscriptions are early Chinese script, which is recognisable as a written language. These inscriptions are priceless to historians because they record the questions and answers people had about their lives.

Oracle Bones (also known as Dragon’s Bones) were the shoulder blades of oxen or plastrons of turtles (the flat, underside of the turtle’s shell) which were used in the Shang Dynasty of China (c. 1600-1046 BCE) for divination. A fortune-teller would carve (later, paint) symbols on the bones of the ox or the turtle shell, apply a hot poker or fire until the bone or shell cracked, and then interpret the direction of the crack through their drawing to predict the future. Eventually, the symbols became words and a recognisable Chinese script developed from this practice.

In free community workshops at Manukau City Library, volunteers share about the history of oracle bone writing, and have a word of the day to discuss and practise writing with calligraphy pens (on paper and crafts). Previous words include: gratitude, benevolence, brightness, and home. These workshops are catered for people of all backgrounds. Feedback from participants are positive and they resonate with the mana in the workshops.

If you would like more information on the workshops, please contact Sam Yu (samyu827@gmail.com).

These are the dates for the upcoming workshops:

  • Saturday 29th February, 10:30-12
  • Saturday 21st March, 10:30-12
  • Saturday 4th April, 10:30-12
  • Saturday 2nd May, 10:30-12

 

About the author
Sam Yu is a cis-gendered man with the preferred pronouns: he, him, and his. He was born in Hamilton and raised in a Taiwanese way. He grew up in the dichotomy of both embracing and rejecting his Taiwanese heritage and ended up not knowing which community he belongs to. Seeing communities like Oscen makes him realise how many ‘others’ like him are out there, giving him a sense of belonging.
On the Table with Hazel: Cucumber Muchim

I love summer. Not because it gets hot and you can go to the beach and all that (although that does have its perks). I love summer because all the fruit and veges I love are cheap and fresh! Eggplants for 2 dollars? Cucumbers for less? SAY LESS! Honestly, the long summer evenings mean more time to cook and eat the delicious summer produce. So, here’s one of my summer classics: it’s my own version of “오이무침” (pronounced “oh – ee mu-chim”), or a lazy Korean cucumber salad.

If I was being true to the muchim, I would be adding Korean chili flakes. But those are expensive, and gochujang does the job just as well. Muchim also isn’t really a salad. According to Google, it means “tossed cucumber”. Technically, that’s right. But really, it’s supposed to be mixed by the naked hand, as we believe that your hands add extra flavour (yeah, writing that out feels weird) to the dish. I have eczema on my hands so I will be doing the “tossing” with my spoon, but you are more than welcome to get all up in it with your mitts! I like to eat this as a side dish with some rice but the other day I plated this guy up with some avo toast and that was delicious as well. This is supposed to be side dish and it really does complement anything savoury you eat! Hey, maybe you can impress your whānau by bringing it to a beach barbecue — the choices are endless! Cucumber muchim is super fresh and really gets your appetite going on those hot summer nights. It’s tangy and sweet with a slight kick from the gochujang and garlic, and it really complements the crunchy texture of cucumber. So here we go, cucumber muchim for your summer wine and dine!


Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp of coarse salt (must be coarse! Not table salt as that would be too salty)
  • 3 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of gochujang (you can add more if you like it spicier)
  • 1 tbsp of sweetener of your choice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sesame oil

 

Instructions

  1. Wash your cucumbers well. There is no need to peel the cucumber as the texture is better when unpeeled. Cut the cucumbers in half, then chop them into a half-moon shape about 1cm thick.
  2. Once that’s done, dump the cucumbers into a bowl and sprinkle the salt over the chopped
    cucumbers then mix it well. Let this sit for 30 minutes. This process will help drain the excess
    moisture from the cucumbers which makes it last longer in the fridge. It also improves the
    texture of the cucumber
  3. After the 30 minutes, rinse the cucumbers under cold running water. Do it until the cucumbers taste milder and less salty. Give them a gentle squeeze to drain the excess water then let them drip on a sieve while you prepare the sauce. This step is crucial! Don’t skip it!
  4. Mix the minced garlic and vinegar together — I like to do this as it softens the flavour of
    the garlic. Then, throw in the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix them well. Taste it to see whether you would like it spicier or sweeter or saltier, but remember: the flavour will change again when you incorporate the cucumbers.
  5. Finally, “toss” the chopped, drained cucumbers into the gochujang sauce! Taste again to see if it’s seasoned to your taste. Remember, you can always add more of the flavouring ingredients as you go!

Ta-da, you’re done! It keeps for up to 3 days in the fridge, but it will get “juicier” as the cucumber releases its water over time. But never fear, the juices make a great spicy salad dressing!

About the author
Hazel Oh