A couple of banchan: Korean Bean Sprout and Cucumber Salads

Possibly the best parts of a Korean meal are the banchan, or little side dishes, that almost always accompany it. They usually include kimchi and pickled vegetables (and often tiny little dead fish). I could make an entire meal of banchan. I like to make my own, although since I like to serve four or five different kinds at a time, I often supplement my homemade banchan with a few ready-made items from Super H; they always have several vegan varieties (you do have to watch out for fish sauce). Tonight I made a bean sprout “salad” and a cucumber “salad”. I’m putting salad in quotes because I don’t really know what to call them. I spend enough time at Super H that you’d think maybe I would have picked up Korean by osmosis by now, but it’s still Greek to me. (I hilariate myself. (“Hilariate” is a perfectly cromulent word.))

Although I don’t know what to call these little dishes, they are very fast, easy, and even cheap. Throw them together before embarking on the preparation of a Korean meal, let them marinate while you make the main dish, and then everything will be ready at the same time. Easy!

Bean Sprout Banchan

2 cups bean sprouts
2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
4 drop stevia (or 1 tsp sugar)

Place the bean sprouts in a bowl. Bring a kettle to boil, then pour the boiling water over the bean sprouts to cover. Let sit for 2 minutes, then drain.

Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl …

… then toss with the bean sprouts.

Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Verdict? At dinner, Mark said he particularly liked the bean sprouts and seemed impressed when I told him I made the recipe up. Not that it’s a particularly difficult or involved recipe, in fact, it seems a little silly to bother taking credit for it. But it went over very well!

Cucumber Banchan

Imagine 2 cucumbers in this photograph.

2 cucumbers
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp Korean red pepper powder

Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible, on a mandolin if you have one. Toss with the salt and let sit for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.

Squeeze the cucumbers dry, then toss with marinade.

Now, I’ve always just marinaded the cucumbers in the past, however, this time I decided to get fancy and use my new pickle press. If you don’t have one, just let the cucumbers sit in the marinade. But if you want to use a press, put the cucumber into the press and tighten it:

Then refrigerate for at least half an hour. Notice how the liquid has come up through the holes in the “presser foot” of the press:

Simply drain the liquid off before unclamping. Then serve!

Verdict? Nice and crisp, however, not spicy enough for my tastes. I might toss in some more red pepper after pressing next time. You could barely taste the pepper. But I like cucumbers, so it was good anyway.


  1. Lisa Said,

    October 5, 2008 @ 11:50 am

    They look incredibly delicious!!

  2. Loretta Cox Said,

    July 17, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    I like this reciepe and would like to try it.

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