Asian Recipes/ Korean/ Recipes/ Salad/ Side Dish

Musaengchae – Korean 10 Minute Radish Salad

04/04/2024

Our go-to Korean banchan when we want the flavour of kimchi without the ferment! Musaengchae is a quick radish salad bursting with spice and umami that’s super refreshing.

A close up of Korean radish salad in a dark bowl topped with sesame seeds and green onion.

Why We Love This

The amount of flavour packed into this little side dish is So. Good. It has loads of umami and feels like a ferment, but instead of taking days, it’s ready in 15 minutes!

We love how well this pairs with many Korean dishes, even when it is spicy, it’s still very refreshing. Our favourite pairings are with rabokki or Korean army stew.

Related: Vietnamese Carrot and Daikon Pickle / Japanese Pickled Daikon

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Chopsticks hold up a stack of freshly made musaengchae.

What is Musaengchae?

Korean radish salad, known as musaengchae / 무생채, is a simple banchan side dish that’s nice and quick to throw together.

It’s an interesting salad in that it’s quite cooling despite the level of heat in the dish from the Korean red pepper powder / gochugaru.

The salad has a nice depth of balanced flavour from the combination of ingredients such as fish sauce, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt.

What You’ll Need

  • Korean Mu Radish – Smaller radishes will be sweeter and less bitter than the larger counterparts – so keep this in mind when choosing your radish. Sub with daikon.
  • Korean Red Pepper Powder / Gochugaru – Our favourite chilli flakes! This is what packs the heat. For a milder finish, sub with Korean red pepper paste / gochujang instead. You can also use regular chilli flakes but it won’t be the same and may add too much spice.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar – Adding the zing to the salad, this is a good addition of acidity. Sub with white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or even lemon juice.
  • Salt for Pickling – We like using sea salt or rock salt for this. Table salt can be a little too fine and make the radish too salty, so use the coarsest salt you have.
  • Other – Garlic, sugar, fish sauce and spring onion / green onion round out the rest of the flavours for the salad.
Ingredients laid out ready to make Korean radish salad.

How to Make Korean Radish Salad

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

For the quick pickle

  1. Remove the skin from the radish and slice into half or quarter chunks. Use a mandoline to slice the radish into thin strips, or slice by hand with a sharp knife, making sure to cut them as thin as possible. Note: The thinner you can cut it, the better and more flavour the radish will absorb over all sides.
  2. Place the radish strips in a large bowl and sprinkle over the coarse salt. Mix together in a bowl and allow to pickle for 5-10 minutes until the liquid starts to come out from the radish, then rinse the radish under water, drain and squeeze out.

For the seasoning

  1. Add the seasonings on top – garlicfish saucegochugaru / Korean chilli powderrice vinegarsugar, salt and spring onion / green onion, then toss well to combine.

For the garnish

  1. Serve as one large bowl or as small side dishes to your mains. Garnish with ½ tbsp white sesame seeds and 1 tsp sesame oil.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • To serve – Can serve on rice with a fried egg and topped with extra sesame seeds.
  • Up the Vinegar – Can add more vinegar to your taste if you like it sour (Laura doesn’t!).
  • Leave Overnight – You can serve up the next day, allowing the colour and flavour to deepen overnight.
  • Bibimbap – Add it to bibimbap as a topping.

Storage, Freezing & Reheating

We don’t recommend freezing. Keep it in an airtight container and eat it within a couple of days. The radish can take on a more bitter note to the salad the longer it’s in the fridge.

FAQs

What’s the difference between Korean Mu Radish and Japanese Daikon?

Answer.

Do I have to pickle the radish or can I eat it as a raw salad?

You can skip the quick pickle, just note it will keep your radish slightly firmer and with a more bitter flavour to the salad overall.

Serving Ideas & Variations

  • Control the Spice – Less gochugaru = less spicy or sub with gochujang for a milder flavour. More gochugaru = more heat!
  • Other Veg – You can do this same recipe with beetroot or zucchini!
  • Make it Vegan – Sub the fish sauce for soy sauce.
  • Extra Flavour – Add a splash of soy sauce for a touch more umami.
Bowl of musaengchae topped with sesame seeds alongside a set of wooden chopsticks.

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A heap of musaengchae in a dark bowl.

Musaengchae – Korean 10 Minute Radish Salad

Our go-to Korean banchan when we want the flavour of kimchi without the ferment! Musaengchae is a quick radish salad bursting with spice and umami that’s super refreshing.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Pickling Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 6 Side Serves
Calories: 50kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $7

Ingredients

For the quick pickle

  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 500 g Korean mu radish sub daikon, 1 lb, peeled and thinly sliced

For the seasoning

To garnish

Instructions

For the quick pickle

  • Remove the skin from the 500 g Korean mu radish and slice into half or quarter chunks. Use a mandoline to slice the radish into thin strips, or slice by hand with a sharp knife, making sure to cut them as thin as possible. Note: The thinner you can cut it, the better and more flavour the radish will absorb over all sides.
  • Place the radish strips in a large bowl and sprinkle over the 2 tbsp coarse salt. Mix together in a bowl and allow to pickle for 5-10 minutes until the liquid starts to come out from the radish, then rinse the radish under water, drain and squeeze out.

For the seasoning

  • Add the seasonings on top – 3 garlic, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp Korean hot pepper flakes / gochugaru, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 ½ tbsp sugar, ½ tsp salt and 2 spring onion / green onion, then toss well to combine.

For the garnish

  • Serve as one large bowl or as small side dishes to your mains. Garnish with ½ tbsp white sesame seeds and 1 tsp sesame oil.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • To serve – Can serve on rice with a fried egg and topped with extra sesame seeds.
  • Up the Vinegar – Can add more vinegar to your taste if you like it sour (Laura doesn’t!).
  • Leave Overnight – You can serve up the next day, allowing the colour and flavour to deepen overnight.
  • Bibimbap – Add it to bibimbap as a topping.
  • Control the Spice – Less gochugaru = less spicy or sub with gochujang for a milder flavour. More gochugaru = more heat!
  • Other Veg – You can do this same recipe with beetroot or zucchini!
  • Make it Vegan – Sub the fish sauce for soy sauce.
  • Extra Flavour – Add a splash of soy sauce for a touch more umami.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Musaengchae – Korean 10 Minute Radish Salad
Amount per Serving
Calories
50
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.2
g
1
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.5
g
Sodium
 
727
mg
32
%
Potassium
 
279
mg
8
%
Carbohydrates
 
9
g
3
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
831
IU
17
%
Vitamin C
 
20
mg
24
%
Calcium
 
46
mg
5
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Musaengchae - Korean 10 Minute Radish Salad
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