A simple Korean side dish you can make with abundant summer zucchinis! It’s also great in bibimbpap.
This stir-fried zucchini is one of my favorite summer side dishes (banchan, 반찬)! It’s delicious with summer zucchinis and goes well with any Korean meal, especially meat dishes such as bulgogi, galbi, or jeyuk bokkeum or in bibimbap.
My preference is to make this dish with Korean zucchinis called aehobak (애호박), meaning young squash, if available. Aehobak has the shape of regular zucchini, but with a lighter green color, thinner skin, and more delicate yellowish flesh. There are also round shaped varieties of aehobak. These are available in summer months around here.
However, you can make this dish with any zucchini varieties, such as grey zucchini, black beauty, etc.
This dish can be vegan if you use salt or soup soy sauce (gukganjang) to season. However, the classic seasoning for this Korean side dish is saeujeot (or saewujeot, 새우젓), which is salted and fermented tiny shrimp. It adds a delicious savory flavor to the zucchini. Fish sauce works as well.
Saeujeot is a staple ingredient most commonly used in kimchi but its distinct savory flavor works wonderfully as a seasoning for various other dishes such as gyeran jjim (steamed egg), sundubu jjigae (soft tofu jjigae), kongnamul guk (soybean sprout soup) and bossam (boiled pork). If you have leftover saeujeot from making kimchi, keep it in the freezer in a freezer bag. It won’t freeze because of the high level of salt content, but will keep well for a long time.
You can keep this zucchini side dish in the fridge up to 4 days if it lasts that long.
2 teaspoonssaeujeot (salted shrimp) or salt to tasteor fish sauce
1teaspoonminced garlic cloves
1teaspoonsesame seeds (preferably crushed)
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise (cut into quarters if using a round zucchini). Then cut crosswise into about 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick slices.
You can use saeujeot as is or finely chopped. This is very salty, so use 2 teaspoons first and add more if needed.
Heat a pan with the oil over medium high heat. Add the zucchini, garlic and saeujeot (or salt or fish sauce) to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring well. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan while stir frying. You can add another spoon or two of water if the pan is dry.
Add the scallion, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Continue to cook until the zucchini is softened and turns translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Taste and add more salted shrimp or salt if necessary.
This recipe was originally posted in July 2011. Here, I have updated it with new photos, more information and improvements to the recipe.