If you have eaten at a Korean restaurant you will recognize ‘Banchans’ as being the small (usually free) side dishes that accompany the main meal. Cabbage Kimchi is a standard offering but there are many others and I tend to rate a restaurant on the number and variety of selections provided.
Today’s offering is not an actual Korean recipe (to the best of my knowledge) but the combination of Preserved Salted Radish along with Gochujang chilli paste makes it a pretty good fit to the basic theme…
- ¾ cup Salted Radish sliced into slivers;
- ½ a medium Onion, sliced into thin slivers;
- 1 ½ Tbsp. Gochujang;
- 4 Tbsp. each of White Vinegar and Rice Wine;
- Sesame Seeds (for garnish).
First, you will probably want to soak your radish strips for about 20 to 30 minutes to remove some of the saltiness. Gochujang can often be quite salty so taste both products to see whether (or how much) soaking you need.
Now mix together the Gochujang with the rice wine and vinegar. Set this aside for now.
Heat a little oil in a pan over high heat and sweat the onions until they begin to soften.
When the onions are done, add the radish along with the sauce mix and let the whole bubble and seethe until the sauce is reduced to a syrupy glaze. Remove from heat and let cool before garnishing with the sesame seeds for service.
For my first taste, I served the Banchan as part of a pretty Korean meal featuring flanken-cut ribs and Kimchi.
The Radish Banchan was very nice but I must confess to a certain shortcoming…. I did not add any sugar to this recipe (chiefly because I am trying to limit my intake, and also because some Gochujang preparation is quite sweet anyway)… However, in my opinion, this side-dish would really be improved by more sweetness. I would, after tasting this result, recommend adding a tablespoon or so of sugar to the onions as you are frying them. Try it, and let me know what you think…