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Korean Marinated Cucumber Banchan (Oi Muchim)

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Whether you’re chowing down on burgers, a Sichuan feast, or American or Korean barbecue, most heavy meals benefit from some bright and fresh vegetables to offset all of that richness. And when it comes to palate-cleansing vegetables, it’s hard to beat the refreshing crunch of cucumbers.

Oi muchim is a Korean banchan that shows off the best attributes of cukes. Thick slices of cucumber are massaged with salt, sugar, and gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) to season them and draw out the vegetable’s natural moisture content. The cucumbers are set aside to drain, then squeezed to get rid of excess water before getting tossed with a simple dressing of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and garlic. These marinated cucumbers hold on to the crunch and succulence of fresh raw vegetables, but pick up heat from the gochugaru along with salinity and acidity from the dressing, giving classic pickled cukes a serious run for their money.

Published at Thu, 27 Feb 2020 10:30:24 +0000