As much as I detested this pickled radish side dish (aka chicken mu) while living in Seoul, I finally couldn’t get enough of it when we made it ourselves here in the States. For those unaware of this cubed radish side dish, it is religiously served with fried chicken supposedly to balance out the greasy and oily counterpart. They are usually served chilled, providing a refreshingly crisp taste. While Americans eat fried chicken with a side of cole slaw or biscuits, Koreans get an ample supply of this pickled side dish at HOF bars and chicken eateries. Most foreigners living in Korea will not only attest to this ubiquitous side dish, but they will also tell you that Korea probably has more fried chicken joints than any other country (no kidding, they are everywhere). One of the more popular chains called Kyochon Chicken has even come up with a unique double-frying method that renders the fat on the skin to crispen into paper-thin pieces, ultimately giving chicken lovers a lighter and tastier version of its American counterpart. And from my knowledge, this Korean chicken chain has finally made its way to the States, opening up restaurants on the East and West coasts. So if you happen to live on one of the coasts, check it out and you will surely be served some pickled cubed radish as well.
Servings: 6 people (at one sitting)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Pickling time: 24~48 hours (at room temperature)
- 1/2 large Korean radish (mu), cut into about 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- salt to taste (optional)
1. Peel and rinse the Korean radish thoroughly. Cut into 1/2-inch cubed pieces, larger if desired. Place radish pieces in a large enough glass or plastic air-tight container.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 cup white sugar, and mix until sugar dissolves. Once sugar is fully dissolved, pour in the mixture with radish cubes until submerged or covered.
3. Set out at room temperature a minimum of 24 hours; 48 hours being optimal. Then place in the refrigerator serving cold with fried chicken or any choice of barbecue meats. Enjoy!
*The vinegar, water, and sugar should be combined at a 1:1:1 ratio until the cubed radish pieces are covered/submerged. Adjust the taste according to personal preference, but it should be somewhat salty and sour.