In my previous post I have scared or disgusted some of you with black pudding, so now how about seasoned worms? Seriously, this is the first thing I thought while browsing through my photographs… I hope you will believe me these are not animals, but a seriously addictive, utterly delicious dried radish dish, laced in typically Korean hot and sweet sauce.
As you might remember, I am a regular pickler and, in general, a big food preserving enthusiast. Obviously, summer and autumn are the busiest seasons for this activity, but winter is the perfect time to dry fruits and vegetables. You put or hang them close to a source of heat (or leave in a hardly warm oven) and you obtain a homemade delicious product, often saving wrinkled, dying produce from the bin. I have been drying apples, pears and mushrooms for years, preparing my own dry mixture of vegetables for chicken stock… but without Hiroyuki’s blog I would have never even considered doing the same with daikon. I am glad I did because Pickled Dried Daikon (Harihari zuke) proved so delicious, I make sure I always have some dried radish. Now I have another, this time Korean, reason to dry more daikon!
Since I am particularly fond of the chewy and slightly crunchy texture of rehydrated dried radish, I was thrilled to discover a new way to prepare it. The result is so addictive, I feel like having it for every single meal of the day (including breakfast). Hot and sweet flavours with a garlicky kick, combined with the unique texture of dried daikon create one of the best side dishes or vegetable snacks I have ever tasted. If you also appreciate chewiness in food, as well as a mixture of sweet & hot flavours, you will not be disappointed. This dish alone is worth preparing your own dried radish.
I have found this recipe at the wonderful Maangchi’s blog, highly recommended to all those who already know and “practice” Korean cuisine or those who are simply intrigued by it. Maangchi’s delicious and foolproof recipes are also filmed, so you can choose the form you prefer. This radish treat (Mumallaengi-muchim 무말랭이무침) is one of many Maangchi’s banchan (Korean side dishes), which are quite versatile and can also be served with other Asian dishes or as drink snacks. As Maangchi suggests, since it’s quick to prepare and has some of kimchi ingredients, you can serve it instead of kimchi, if you have run out of it. I simply have it with everything… Steam some rice, put a fried egg on top, add some of this radish and you obtain a fantastic meal!
I have slightly modified Maangchi’s recipe, mainly adjusting the balance of sweet & hot flavours to my own preferences. I have also soaked the radish a bit longer because mine was horribly dry. I have changed the amounts, adapting them to my stock of dried radish. Check Maangchi’s original recipe here.
Click here to see how to dry radish and how to prepare the Japanese radish pickles.
If you buy dried daikon, soak it in water 7-8 minutes, just like Maangchi advises. If you have dried it on your own, soak it, tasting every ten minutes until the texture is soft enough to be eaten. (It took me 30 minutes to obtain an edible degree of softness). In general, I advise tasting the radish strips every now and then until you like the texture (some people prefer chewier food, some softer).
Preparation: 20-30 minutes
Ingredients (yields approximatively a 250 ml jar):
2 big handfuls of dried radish strips
1 teaspoon oil
2 tablespoons Korean chilli powder (or other medium hot chilli powder) or more
2 tablespoons delicately flavoured honey, such as acacia (or sweet syrup, such as corn or agave or, as Maangchi suggests, rice syrup)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 green onion, chopped (I didn’t have green onion and used chives instead)
1 big garlic clove, grated or crushed
Soak the radish in a bowl of cold water.
Maangchi advises 7-8 minutes only, but she uses bought dried radish, which is maybe not so dry…
Mine was particularly tough, so I soaked it for 20 minutes, until it was possible to eat.
(Check the TIPS above).
In the meantime in another big bowl combine all the sauce ingredients.
Taste the sauce and adjust the heat, the saltiness or the sweetness to your preferences.
The sauce should be most of all sweet and hot, and a bit salty.
Drain well the radish on a sieve and squeeze well.
Heat the oil in a pan. Stir-fry the radish for one minute.
Combine with the sauce.
Serve immediately or refrigerate and keep for many weeks in a closed jar.