Musaengchae

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Growing up in a Korean household, I saw radish salad banchan at every dinner table. The small plates of this crispy, salty and sometimes spicy vegetable dish are one of my favorite sides to this day. I usually serve a spicy version of musaengchae made with gochugaru alongside a sweet and sour variety. Neither require cooking -- only thinly slicing the radishes and salting them ahead of time.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 9 hr 10 min (includes salting and marinating times)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Spicy Radish Salad:

Sweet Pickled Radish Salad:

Directions

  1. For the spicy radish salad: Combine the radishes with 1 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl and let sit at room temperature until the radishes bend without snapping and lose about a quarter of their volume, about 20 minutes. (The radishes will release liquid; do not drain.)
  2. Add the gochugaru, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and garlic and mix well using your hands. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
  3. For the sweet pickled radish salad: Combine the radishes, carrots and 1 tablespoon salt in a large mixing bowl and let sit at room temperature, tossing once halfway through, until the radishes and carrots are flexible and bend without snapping, about 20 minutes. (The vegetables will release liquid; do not drain.) 
  4. Add the rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and ginger and mix well using your hands. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Cook’s Note

Korean radish is squatter, has denser flesh and is less bitter than its cousin daikon (Japanese radish). You can also recognize it by a distinctive green shading towards its top. Seek it out at Korean markets or larger supermarkets, or substitute daikon.