It's that time of the year again! Korean radish, mu (or moo), is in season! The radishes I've been getting lately taste really sweet and crunchy. Korean radish is a variety of white radish (aka daikon), and it has firm crisp flesh and a slightly sweet and peppery taste. I've posted several radish dishes before, such as kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi), dongchimi (radish water kimchi), mu guk (radish soup), and mu namul (stir-fried and steamed radish). Here, I made a popular side dish called mu saengchae (무생채). Saengchae is a general term for salad-like dishes made with uncooked vegetables. For mu saengchae, I like to salt the radish first to draw out some water for extra crunch. This spicy and crunchy radish salad has the flavor of fresh kimchi (not fermented), so it can also be a quick substitute for kimchi. It's great in bibimbap as well. This past weekend, I made this dish to accompany bossam (slow cooked pork wrapped in salted napa cabbage) for a large family gathering. Everyone loved it!
1 pound mu (Korean radish)
1 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper flakes, gochugaru (add 1 teaspoon more if you like it spicy)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon fish sauce, myulchi jeot
1 teaspoon salted shrimp, saewu jeot (just use more fish sauce if unavailable)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sugar (use if your radish is not sweet)
by scrubbing with a brush and/or scratching off the stubborn impurities with a small knife. Peel the skin only if necessary. Cut into match sticks (about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick).
Sprinkle the salt over the radish and toss well to coat evenly. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes until the radish sticks have softened and released some liquid. Drain (or gently squeeze out) excess liquid. Do not rinse. Add all the remaining ingredients. Mix well by hand. Taste and add more salted shrimp or fish sauce if necessary.