Hobak Bokkeum 애호박 볶음 (Zucchini Stir Fry)

Here is one of many side dishes that Korean cuisine is renowned for, called aehobak bokkeum (zucchini stir fry). It’s easy to make and can be had in a matter of minutes. You often find this banchan (side dish) in Korean restaurants, where they will either serve this warm or cold. If you get the “cold” version, it simply means you got leftovers (no, not from other customers) from the larger batch made previously the day before, as it can keep for a few days refrigerated. In fact, most Korean banchan side dishes are made in large volume to be stored in the fridge for several days. Personally, I enjoy this hobak bokkeum and other banchan in my bibimbab (rice mixed with vegetables) to make a quick and hearty meal within minutes. When picking the zucchini, it really doesn’t matter if you’re using the dark or light green (or even the yellow) variety. Zucchinis come in a variety of shapes and sizes (summer squash), so don’t hesitate to use whatever you can get your hands on for this side dish.

Servings: 4 people 
Prep time: 20 minutes (salting)
Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 cm discs
  • 1 tbsp sea salt (or saewujeot, salted shrimp)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • dash of salt for taste
Directions:
1. Wash and cut the zucchini in flat discs or halved lengthwise if the zucchini is larger than normal. Either cut should be about 1/4-inch thick.

2. Bring the pieces to a mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp of sea salt. This will help bring out the extra moisture from the zucchini. Most Koreans use saewujeot (salted shrimp) in place of this, but salt works better since it doesn’t have any fishy smell. Drain excess water after about 20 minutes.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Add the zucchini and seasonings to the pan. Saute a few minutes or until slightly translucent and become flimsy. Do not overcook them, otherwise they will become mushy and fall apart.

4. Serve as a banchan (side dish). Save leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days for later consumption.
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