The Korean name of this zucchini stirfry is Aehobak Bokum Banchan. It is made with thinly sliced zucchini stir fried in sesame oil with garlic and chilis. There is no seasoning except for salt and yet there is nothing plain about the flavor of the dish. Stir frying in sesame seed oil is nothing short of magical, I suppose, because by the time the stir fry is served, you’d think that a myriad of seasonings and flavorings had gone into it. Perfect vegetable side dish for almost any meat or seafood dish. Or, if you’re a vegetarian, enjoy it as a main course.
A few tips here. The recipe may be a little surprising because the preparation time is three times as long as the cooking time. Fifteen minutes to prepare and five minutes to cook. Seriously? Yes.
The zucchini slices require that they sit in a bowl with plenty of salt for ten minutes to allow them to expel water.
While the zucchini slices sit in the salt bath, use the time to prep the rest of the ingredients.
The sesame seeds need to be toasted in an oil-free pan. Wait until the little things are glistening with their own oil before removing them from the heat.
By the time your garlic is chopped and your chili is sliced, you’re ready to start cooking.
Based on a recipe from Heart, Mind & Seoul.
- Halve the zucchini vertically then slice thinly, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Place the zucchini slices in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss and leave for ten minutes to allow excess water to be expelled.
- Meanwhile, in an oil-free pan, toast the black and white sesame seeds together. Transfer to a saucer and cool.
- Chop the garlic; finely slice the chili.
- Lay a stack of kitchen paper on a plate. Scoop out the zucchini from the bowl (leave behind the excess liquid!) and lay on the kitchen paper. Place another stack of kitchen paper on top of the zucchini and gently press to allow more water to be absorbed by the kitchen paper.
- Heat the sesame seed oil in a wok. Saute the chili and garlic. Add the zucchini. Cook for about five minutes.
- Transfer the Korean zucchini stirfry to a plate. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and serve.
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