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Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad Banchan

by Jeanette on July 14, 2011 · 33 Comments
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Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad Banchan
When it gets really hot outside like it has been lately, I crave the little cold Korean side dishes called banchan. My last CSA Box included some lovely cucumbers, perfect for making a quick Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad “Banchan.”


Lately, I’ve been making a lot of little Korean side dishes using the fresh vegetables in my CSA Boxes, including a Quick Kohlrabi “Kim Chi” Salad, Korean Spinach Salad “Banchan,” and a Quick Vegetarian Napa Cabbage Kim Chi. I could make a whole meal out of banchan and a bowl of rice; in fact, that’s my favorite part of the meal whenever we eat at our local Korean restaurant. Korean meals can be accompanied by anywhere from 3, at its most basic, to 12 banchan (used in Royal Korean cuisine).

Banchan are very easy to prepare at home. The only trick is that if you want a variety of banchan to enjoy at a single meal, then you will have to spend a little more time preparing several of these little dishes.

Typically, banchan are single vegetable dishes that are quickly prepared, whether they are simply sauteed like Summer Squash or Zucchini “Banchan,” or marinated raw, like the Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad “Banchan” I made today. The Korean red pepper flakes  used in Kim Chi and many banchan can be found at Asian grocery stores. Although the red pepper flakes I bought came in a rather large bag, I’ve been using them up pretty quickly with all the Kim Chi and banchan I’ve been making. I just love the bright red color of these red pepper flakes. Although they are spicy, they’re not as spicy as they look.

This Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad “Banchan” is quite spicy, so adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your taste.

Korean Red Pepper Flakes are a vibrant red, and a bit spicy.

Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad “Banchan”

Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your taste. If you like it even spicier, add some gochujang (contains wheat, so leave out for gluten-free version). I like this cucumber salad best after it has had a chance to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes, depending on taste
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang, optional (contains wheat, so leave out for gluten-free version)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine cucumbers and salt in a colander and place over a bowl or in the sink. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. 
  2. Place salted cucumbers on a layer of paper towels and pat dry.
  3. Combine red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, gochujang (if using), sesame seeds, garlic, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl. 
  4. Add cucumbers and toss well.
  5. Serve chilled. 

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Comments

  1. this looks divine! i love that it's vegan. :D and i didn't know gochujang had wheat in it. very very good to know for me…

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    Just looking at this makes my head sweat — in a happy way! Bookmarking.

  3. This is beautiful Jeanette! I've never seen Korean red pepper flakes, do you think I can sub another? When I first saw the photo I thought it was sriracha! :)

  4. Jeanette says:

    Junia – check the labels, but the gochujang I buy does have wheat which I never knew until my son developed an allergy to wheat and I started paying more attention.

    Lydia – glad you like this one – it is bright red and spicy, but so refreshing in this hot weather!

    Aggie – if you can't find Korean red pepper flakes, you could substitute regular red pepper flakes (use less as these are spicier than Korean red pepper flakes), a little cayenne (but use just a little as cayenne is much spicier), or you could even use sriracha. Just taste as you go so it doesn't come out too spicy for your taste.

  5. Feast on the Cheap says:

    LOVE this. I have to try it.

  6. Pretty salad! I hope I can handle the spice:)

  7. Jeanette says:

    Maria – you can adjust the spice based on your heat tolerance. I like it spicy, but you can always start with just a little bit and add. The Korean red pepper flakes are different from regular chili pepper flakes – they're not as spicy, so if you're using something other than Korean red pepper flakes, I would use a lot less to begin with. You can always add more.

  8. I think I need to visit the Asian market and look for those Korean red pepper flakes!

  9. That's so funny, I crave spicy salads in the summer too! I have never tried Banchan but am very interested – it looks so earthy and vibrant -and I love it here simply mixed in with the mucilaginous cucumber – soothing, summertime fare. Beautiful!

  10. Marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    Korean side dishes are so fun. I have not been for Korean food for some time, but this cucumber salad is making me crave it big time!

  11. Marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    Korean side dishes are so fun. I have not been for Korean food for some time, but this cucumber salad is making me crave it big time!

  12. I really have to try this on an evening when we are having a steak or plain grilled chicken. It sounds delicious and I'm really interested in new side dishes to feed my family. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  13. Pretend Chef says:

    This sounds and looks amazing. Need to get my hands on some Korean red pepper flakes. What a great summer salad. Yummy!

  14. Jeanette says:

    If you find Korean red pepper flakes and like Korean banchan, grab a bag. When I spotted some in my local Asian grocery store, I bought it even though it looked like a lot. Since it's not super spicy and I've been making Kim Chi and banchan a lot this summer, I've been going through my stash of Korean red pepper flakes pretty quickly.

  15. Ami's Vegetarian Delicacies says:

    yum and spicy looks delicious!

  16. SMITH BITES says:

    wow Jeanette ~ this looks fabulous! not familiar w/Korean food and this one looks like a great place to start!

  17. I'm just jumping into the world of banchan and I love discovering all these yummy dishes! This cucumber salad sounds so refreshing and so perfect for summer.

  18. Jeanette, this looks like a good summer night dinner to me! I bet it is all you need when it hits 98 degrees outside!

  19. The Bird Cage says:

    Jeanette – I just found your blog and I am so delighted. What a gorgeous site! I can see the love and dedication you put into it in every recipe. You can tell when people care! I will continue to visit you because I'm going back to health and food is my only medicine. I think your site will come to my rescue!

    Thank you very much in advance!

  20. purabi naha says:

    This salad is looking so yummy and tangy! I love spicy salads very much!! You have agreat blog and I'd love to follow you.

  21. night_child80 says:

    My tastebuds are already tingling just looking at those cucumbers. How long does the salad keep in the fridge?

  22. Oooh, this looks fantastic! I love cucumber salads, and this one looks terrific with all that spice!

  23. Jen_from_NJ says:

    I was looking for a good use for the cucumbers in my CSA box – thank you for the great idea!

  24. Jeanette says:

    I just got more cucumbers in my CSA Box and will be making more of this easy cucumber salad. It is best eaten within a day or two of making it.

  25. Kreesha Stewart says:

    Looks like its so yummy and healthy! You make a great job Jeanette..

    healthy living

  26. Wow, Jeanette. I just stumbled upon your delicious blog and I love this post, especially since it’s one of my very favorites. Looks so good! I’m totally making this this week!

  27. Melanie says:

    i just made this, it came out awwwwwesome! thank you!!

  28. I made these today for lunch and they came out great! its such an easy recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  29. Going to try this recipe. Looks delicious!

    Your link to the yellow squash/zucchini banchan goes to the spinach banchan page and I can’t find a search function to get to the squash recipe. Anyway you can send me the link?

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