Alien's Day Out

Simple & Healthy Cucumber Banchan

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While I was in Cheonan over the Chuseok holidays, my mom taught me this really simple cucumber banchan recipe using only a few ingredients. I actually don’t like cucumbers that much, but this is quickly becoming one of my favorite side dishes. I think most people are used to eating cucumbers either pickled as a side to a sandwich or burger, or maybe fresh and raw in chopped salads, but this is a good way to eat them cooked. It might sound a bit gross (cooked cucumbers?!), but I’ll just say don’t knock it til you try it. This is a delicious side dish that is light and healthy, and even though they’re cooked, the cucumbers still retain their awesome crunchiness. If you try this once, you can use this method to add extra crunch to all kinds of other recipes!

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So here’s what you need. Feel free to double/triple this recipe.

1 cucumber
1/2 tsp coarse salt (use less if using regular table salt)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed sesame seeds
handful of chopped scallions

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The first thing to do is wash your cucumber and gently shave off any rough spikes along the skin. Don’t peel all the skin off or you’ll lose all the good crunchy texture. Next, slice your cucumber into very slender round disks. Ideally, you would use a mandolin slicer to get them uniformly thin, but you can also just use a knife. Just try to get them as thin as possible.

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In a bowl, sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and give them a gentle mix. Set it aside for about 5-10 minutes for the salt to do its thing and release some of the cuke water.

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After 10 minutes, take handfuls of the cucumber and squeeze the excess water out. A surprising amount of water will come out but try not to squeeze too tightly or the cucumber slices will break apart. :)

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In a non-stick frying pan, heat up some olive oil on medium heat. Once it is heated, add the cucumber slices and toss until it becomes cooked through (about 5 minutes). Add some crushed sesame seeds and toss some more. If you don’t have sesame seeds, a few drops of sesame oil will also work.

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Right near the end, mix in some chopped scallions. Taste and sprinkle more salt if needed. Feel free to add black pepper too.

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Plate up and serve! This can be stored in the fridge for a few days and will also be delicious served cold. This recipe only uses a few ingredients, but feel free to add other things while sauteeing, like crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, or chopped onions to make it even more amazing. :)

Feel free to leave a comment!

7 Comments

  1. I love the bright green of this and I cannot wait to try it myself. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just made this! I had cucumbers and green onions kicking around in my fridge (they are the only cheap things here T___T). I actually REALLY liked this recipe and I don’t even like cucumbers. Thanks to your mom for the recipe!

  3. Ooh I clearly need to put cucumbers on my grocery list ASAP!

  4. It looks really tasteful. I’ll try it and it’s perfect for me because I for the flu, it’s winter here (South America) and I don’t wanna eat raw food right now.
    Thanks.

  5. I’m going to start making this regularly – so simple! Just made some (with black sesame b/c that was all I had and some spicy pepper flakes… I can never hold off on those!).

    Hope that your mom has more recipes like that up her sleeve to teach you! Cheers to her!

  6. Just made this and used a clove of garlic because I didn’t have green onion, and I don’t think I got enough of the water out before I sauteed them because it didn’t get very crunchy, but it tasted delicious!

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