Musaengchae (Sweet and Sour Radish Salad)

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I am going to start the new year with this simple Korean radish side dish. Musaengchae (무생채) is a salad like dish that’s made with julienned radish. Typically, it’s made spicy with gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes) and other seasonings such as garlic, saewujeot (salted shrimp), and/or fish sauce. Sometimes, sugar and vinegar are added. This recipe is a mild variation that’s simply seasoned with sugar, vinegar, and a little bit of salt. You might have had it at some Korean restaurants. This crunchy, sweet and sour dish is simply refreshing! It goes especially well with the meat dishes such as galbi and bulgogi.

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Korean radish has firm crisp flesh and a slightly sweet and peppery taste. It’s a cold weather vegetable, so the radish tastes best in late fall and winter. This dish is simply seasoned, so it’s important to start with a tasty radish.

You can add a little bit of finely ground red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) to add a little bit of a reddish color, but this step is optional. If you don’t have finely ground chili flakes, finely mince the red chili pepper flakes you have with a knife on a cutting board. You can also mix it with a little bit of water to dissolve, and then run it through a strainer.

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Musaengchae (Sweet and sour radish salad)

4.09 from 12 votes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Korean radish mu
  • 1 small carrot
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes gochugaru, (finely ground) - optional (see note)

Instructions

  • Clean the radish and carrot by scrubbing with a brush and/or scratching off the stubborn impurities with a small knife. Cut into match sticks. You can use a mandoline if you have one. Use the thickest blade.
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  • Add all the remaining ingredients. Mix well by hand until the sugar is dissolved and the radish is evenly coated with the gochugaru (if using). Taste and add more vinegar or sugar to your liking.
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  • Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. It will taste better the next day.
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Notes

If unavailable, you can finely mince the coarse red chili pepper flakes with a knife on a cutting board. You can also mix it with a little bit of warm water to dissolve, and then run it through a strainer before mixing it with radish.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you SO much!! I grew up with a number of Korean friends whose mom’s made amazing dishes like this. I have been searching for a good source Korean recipes and even once thought to myself “I really need to find a blog that is a Korean mom’s recipes”. I’ve already made a few of these and I can’t wait to try more. Thank you!!

    • You’re welcome! I started this blog because my kids and their friends wanted to learn how to make Korean food they grew up with. I’m so glad you’ve found my recipes and tried. Thank you!

  2. What kind of mandolin do you use?

  3. Daniel Atencio says

    5 stars
    Sweet and sour radish came out great; easy to make too.

  4. I’m excited to try this recipe. What kind of vinegar do you usually use?
    Thank you.

    • I usually use rice wine vinegar (현미식초), but sometimes use other flavored Korean vinegar types such as apple, lemon, etc.

  5. Hi! I was just wondering what kind of vinegar to use in this? Does regular white vinegar work?

  6. Cindy Little says

    I love this salad and it is going with our Southern BBQ tonight. Love it with my Korean food though and it is so simple and fast. Thanks so much!

  7. The sweet and sour radish is a absolutely necessary accompaniment when eating Korean food and in between courses in any meal…ITS MY FAVORITE KOREAN SIDE or side period! Thanks for the post…how long will it keep in fridge? I never have it long but curious?