Thursday, February 7, 2008

Winter Cool Cucumber Salad (오이무침)

A cool salad for keeping yourself HOT in the wintertime

Winter Cool Cucumber Salad

Wintertime is harsh on your skin and body— your body burns more calories than usual trying to keep warm. Of course it doesn’t follow that you lose weight because you crave heartier foods. Meanwhile, your skin gets battered by the wind, cold, and sun. But you can keep that polar pudge off and skin smooth by harnessing the hydrating powers of cucumber in combination with the fat-burning fire of red Korean chili peppers.

What makes this seasoned cucumber or, in Korean, oi muchim work is the Japanese cucumber, kyuri, which are available year-round. You may also choose to use Persian cucumbers or English hothouse cucumbers. The cucumbers, in tandem with ginger, garlic, green onion, and hot chili peppers, produce a powerfully potent salad of Vitamin A, B6, and C, chromium, manganese, silica, selenium, and sulfur—all vital for aiding your skin in its natural repair. The red chili peppers also boost your metabolism as capsaicin continues to burn calories, long after you have already digested it! Omit the honey, and this recipe is a homeopathic alleviant for diabetics.

Winter Cool Cucumber Recipe

~ Serves 3-4 people

Garlicky Vinegar
This garlicky vinegar may be added to soy sauce for dipping dumplings, kochujang, or any other sauce or dish that calls for vinegar.

3 garlic cloves
6 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp maesil ju, Korean green plum wine
1. Crush or thinly slice the garlic cloves.
2. Soak the garlic in 6 tsp of rice vinegar for an hour, or preferably, overnight.

Cucumber Salad
What adds an extra special spicy kick to this salad is the shot of fresh ginger juice.

3 japanese cucumbers – kyuri
2 tsp scallions/green onions, finely chopped
½ tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbs Korean red chili pepper, cut in thin .5 x .1 inch strips
1 tbs seaweed, cut in thin .5 x .1 inch strips
2 tsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger juice
¼ tsp salt
3. Stir in honey into the ginger juice, which you have obtained from crushing the bulb of ginger.
4. Use your Japanese Mandolin slicer to evenly slice your cucumbers into thin 1/16 inch disks.
5. Lightly sprinkle the salt over the cucumbers.
6. Mix the garlic vinegar, soy sauce, and honeyed ginger juice together and pour over the cucumbers.
7. Add scallions, cracked pepper, salt, red chili pepper, and if you so desire sesame seeds and oil, and lightly toss.
8. Add the seaweed and additional red pepper on top for garnish and serve.
For a softer sesame version, add:
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 tsp toasted sesame seeds

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