Photo by Lara Ferroni
Tasty and colorful, this dish is one of hundreds of small side dishes (banchan or panchan—an assortment of fresh, pickled and sautéed vegetables, tofu, fish, and fish cakes) that accompany a Korean meal. An everyday dish with a mild flavor, it is especially calming with spicy food. If you can’t find yellow zucchini, any yellow squash will do. The threads make this salad attractive, but you can cut the zucchini into ribbons or half-moons if you prefer. It keeps in the refrigerator for a day. Serve with korean barbecued beef short ribs.
2 green and 2 yellow medium (8- to 10-inch) zucchini
1 large carrot, peeled
1 Korean green chili or jalapeno (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
Ground white pepper
Juice from 1/2 large lemon (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (from a 1/2-inch piece)*
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling
Trim the zucchini and halve them lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Using a box shredder or mandolin, separately cut the zucchini and carrot into threads. Thinly slice the hot green chili to the same thickness as the zucchini. Don’t worry if the pieces are not the same length.
Place the zucchini in a colander over the sink, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and let stand for 15 minutes. Working in batches, wrap the zucchini in a non-terry dish cloth and gently wring out excess moisture. Do this 2 or 3 times to extract as much water as possible, but don’t completely crush the zucchini. Repeat with the carrot.
Combine the zucchini, carrot, and chili in a medium bowl and fluff them up. Sprinkle with the sugar and white pepper. Stir in salt to taste and toss to mix well. Add the lemon juice, ginger, and sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, toss, and serve.
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings as part of a multicourse family-style meal
SOURCE: Recipes and photographs excerpted with permission from The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook, Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens by Patricia Tanumihardja (Sasquatch Books, October 2009).
* If you’d like to peel fresh ginger before grating (it’s not really necessary), scrape off the papery skin with a spoon. It will come off very easily and reduces waste because you will remove very little flesh. If you don’t have a box shredder or mandolin, use a vegetable peeler or a very sharp knife to slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin horizontal sheets. Then stack 2 to 3 sheets at a time and slice them into threads.