Soon Dubu and Cucumber Banchan

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A Korean meal of soup + vegetable banchan + rice, and maybe an omelette, is fast becoming a staple around here. I would like to report from this batch that first, adding oyster mushrooms to the soon dubu, because I do not use seafood, makes an incredible difference. Always use! And second, for the cucumber salad, I think peeling, seeding, and salting the cucumbers first, and then squeezing out as much water as possible with a cheesecloth (this feels like a bother, but it is actually much quicker than squeezing the water by hand) is what really allows the flavor of the dressing to permeate the vegetable.

And a final point: use as many cucumbers as you can without becoming completely fatigued. From long experience, I am here to report that whether you are making Chinese or Korean cucumber salad, the result is always the same: it's impossible to stop eating it. I long to have leftovers, but I never do because I'm apparently capable of eating at least 2 cucumbers in one sitting.

I've been playing around with the proportions of the flavorings to the cucumber salad. It's still in process, but this time I first made the paste:

  • 2 Tb of gochujang
  • 1 Tb of sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tb of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

I mixed about half of the resulting paste into the cucumbers (3). The water of the cucumbers broke it down more and the paste distributed into an easy dressing. I ended up adding more salt and sesame oil to taste, so clearly these hadn't been enough in the original. I also probably didn't need to use as much gochujang (since I had half leftover), but I just stuck it in the fridge for the next veggie.

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