Fresh Korean radishes are used very frequently in Korean cooking. You can find them in soups, side dishes, stews, and kimchi. It also doesn’t have a strong flavor so it pair well with other seasonings and broth. I want to say that fresh radishes have a texture that is crisp, firm, with a hint of sweetness. However, once the radishes are dried/dehydrated, and then hydrated again, the texture changes completly.
Here’s a little radish story of mine. Long long ago, ( I am talking 30 years ago) when there weren’t many dehydrators available for the norms, Koreans literally dried the radish strips outside. It required days of drying in the sun. I remember watching my grandmother take trays of funny looking things back and forth from the deck one summer. She was so proud to show me the end result when the radishes were finally dried. She would do this right before she headed back to Korea, so that we can enjoy the radishes during the fall and winter months when she wasn’t around. Bless her heart!
Luckily time has changed and radishes can be found all year round, fresh or dried. LOL. Thank goodness for dehydrators!! Today, I will show you how to take a basic dried radish strips into something very flavorful, scrumptious and addicting!! So let’s get started!
what is mumallaengi muchim?
The literal translation: Mumallaengi=dried radish strips, Muchim=marinated/seasoned. It is a type of side dish (banchan) that works nicely with Korean meals. Due to it’s spicyness, it can also stay fresh in the fridge much longer than other banchan. Once hydrated, the radish texture becomes very chewy and crunchy. For some, it may remind them of a meat texture. The radish strips can be seasoned in variety of ways, depending on your preference, but most Koreans like their Mumallaengi quite spicy! Koreans also enjoy mumallaengi as a topping for many cold dishes, such as Nheng Myun, Bibim Guksu and Bibimbop to name a few. It can also pair nicely with barbque meats, by giving extra texture and spicy kick.
how do you prep dried radish?
Mumallaengi comes package in dehydrated state. They are quite hard to touch and has a funny look to it, like a shriveled up leaf. The colors can range from creme to light brown to light green. The first step is to soak the radish strips for about a good hour in cold water. For this recipe, I have used the entire package. Remember, they expand double in size, so use a bigger bowl and plenty of water for soaking. After an hour, the radish strips should be soft and plumpy. Squeeze well by hand and set them on a strainer. A reminder: after the radish strips get marinated, they will release some liquid, so you want to make sure you squeeze well here!
how do you season the mumallaengi?
Seasoning is key for Mumallaengi. Once you have your seasoning ready, the way you like it, use your gloved hand to work the seasoning into the radishes. Similar to the way you would season kimchi. You can enjoy the seasoned radish the same day you make it or later. There will be some liquid build up on the bottom of the bowl, and that’s quite normal. Over a day or so, the radishes will soak up all of the seasonings; leaving you with intensified flavors!! Try consuming Mumallaengi with fresh hot rice! Oh man, it’s amazing!!
I hope you enjoyed this post about Mumallaengi and how to make it a yummy banchan. Here’s a little tip for those who want to be adventurous. If you want to add additional ingredients, you can search for dried Korean pepper leaves. It pairs very well with Mumallaengi muchim!! I have seen my granmother use them in her muchim and it is fantastic!!
DRIED RADISH IN SPICY SAUCE, KOREAN MUMALLAENGI MUCHIM
- 6 oz Dry/dehydrated Korean radish strips
- 2 tbsp gochujang (hot chilli paste)
- 3 tbsp gochugaru (red chili flakes) coarse
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (red chili flakes) fine
- 3 tbsp maesil (green plum extract)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp Korean soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp corn syrup
- 2½ tbsp minced garlic
- ⅓ cup scallion chopped
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds whole
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp shiitake mushroom powder optional
- Into a large bowl, add dried radish strips and cold water. Radish should submerge completely. Soak for at least one hour, or until soft to touch. Rinse, squeeze well and let it rest on strainer.
- Make the sauce. Into a large bowl, add radish and sauce. Marinate well with gloved hand for few minutes until well seasoned.
- Garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately or save for later. Store in fridge.