Recipe Test: Hobak Namul

eggplant zucchini and carrotPat, over at The Asian Grandmothers’ Cookbook is namul vegetableslooking for people interested in testing recipes. She says about her upcoming book, “The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook will be a compilation of family and homecooking recipes from across the Asian smorgasbord, the idea being that grandmothers are the closest link we have to our cultures and traditions.” If this sounds like fun to you let her know.

namul zucchiniShe sent me a couple of recipes to try. Last night I made a “Green and Yellow Zucchini Thread Salad” from Korea to accompany my Japanese miso marinated steak. Pat says that the gentle and mild flavor of this dish is especially good with spicy food, and while the steak was not spicy it was very flavorful and the combination was pleasing.

vegetables for hobak namulMr. Tess and I have not been big zucchini fans since some early gardening experiences involving not wanting to waste half a packet of seeds. But I’d volunteered to test the recipe, so I went out in the sleet to buy zukes. My regular store did not have a single one—neither green nor yellow! I drove over to the fancy vegetable place and paid almost $3 per pound for four of the summer squashes. It turned out to be a very pretty salad.

namul in a bowlPat suggests the cook use a shredder to make the squash and carrot threads. My shredder is sharp enough for soft cheese and my knife skills are not great, so I used a mandoline. I’m somewhat fearful of the sharp blades on the thing so I worked very slowly. The technique of salting, draining, and drying the vegetables is familiar to me from my experience with Japanese cooking. grating gingerThe only change I made to the recipe was to use ginger juice rather than grated ginger. The dressing was so simple I didn’t think it would be enough, but I followed the recipe and it was just right. I never really thought zucchini had much taste, but in this salad it tasted refreshing. Korean Salad

I’d make this again, when summer squash aren’t priced as exotic vegetables.

I’m looking forward to testing the second recipe soon: a Hawaiian/Japanese soup.

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