Saewu Ganghwe (Spring Onion Tied Shrimp and Asparagus)

Spring onion tied shrimp and asparagus!
It finally feels like spring here! After a cold March and a chilly April, we’re having nice warm weather for the first time this spring. The cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom, and gorgeous spring vegetables are everywhere.
 
Among them are asparagus, of course. Another spring treasure is tender, thin spring onions. They are called shilpa (실파) in Korean, which means thin as a thread. They are mild and slightly sweet. I decided to put these two beautiful spring vegetables together for these little rolls that are great as an appetizer or a side dish.
 

Ganghwe (강회) is a general term that refers to a dish, of small rolls, that is made by tying an ingredient(s) with a thin spring onion or minari (water dropwart). It’s a spring favorite in Korea. They are prepared in bite size pieces and served with a dipping sauce. Nakji (octopus) ganghwe, ojingeo (squid) ganghwe are common variations. There are elaborate royal cuisine versions as well.

I used shrimp and asparagus. Don’t be daunted by the look of this dish. It’s not that hard to tie the ingredients together once you get a hang of it. Also, try it with octopus, squid, imitation crab meat or colorful vegetables. You’ll surely be able to impress your family or guests with these little Korean delicacies.

3 – 4 servings as appetizer
Ingredients:
16 medium shrimp (41 – 50 per pound sizes), peeled, tail on, and deveined
8 thin asparagus stalks 

16 thin spring onions

 
Sweet and sour gochujang sauce:
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar) 
1 tablespoon gochujang, Korean red chili pepper paste
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)
(Mix well and set aside.)
 

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp, and cook briefly, about a minute. Quickly drain and dump in cold water to stop cooking. Drain. You can cut small slits on the inner curve of the curled up shrimp to flatten a little for easier wrapping.

 

Remove the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut into about 2-inch lengths. Blanch them in salted boiling water until softened, about a minute. Remove with a strainer, and shock in cold water. Drain. To the same pot of boiling water, add the white parts of the spring onions, and hold for about 30 seconds before submerging the whole scallions briefly to soften, about 20 seconds. Drain, and shock in cold water. Pat the spring onions dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel by gently pressing to remove excess water.

To assemble, hold a shrimp and an asparagus piece together along with the white end of a spring onion. Tie them together by wrapping the other end of the spring onion around the shrimp and asparagus several times.

Use a chopstick or a toothpick to tuck the end of the spring onion into the roll.  Serve with the gochujang sauce.

 
 
 

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Comments

  1. I can feel the spring from your dish! Asparagus and shrimp sound like a very interesting combination. I should try it when my next spring arrives (It’s autumn here). Though I'm not sure whether I can tie the knot as nice as you did. :D
  2. Tha is a very healthy and fresh looking dish! Beautifully done!
  3. This looks SO beautiful and refreshing!
  4. What a gorgeous spring snack! I love asparagus, but have never had it with shrimp. One more asparagus recipe to my list! Thank you! I only hope I will manage the tying up process...