Recipe: Lemon Cucumber and White Nectarine Banchan

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Gary Robins, executive chef at MoKo in Culver City, shares a recipe for Lemon Cucumber and White Nectarine Banchan this week on Good Food.  Banchan are traditionally small plates like kimchi or vegetables that accompany a meal at Korean restaurants.  At MoKo, Gary creates his own version of Banchan and serves them tapas style.

Keep reading for the recipe…

I first discovered lemon cucumbers several years ago in a NYC farmers market. They were around for only about a week that summer and I had never run across them again until I luckily spotted them in Santa Monica several weeks ago. I love the subtle citrus flavor and the crispness of the flesh, and was excited to incorporate them into our market banchans at Moko. Beautiful plump white nectarines were available and their sweet  fleshy fruit coupled with the cucumbers makes for a delicious combination. I decided to add sunflower sprouts for a little nuttiness and Korean chili for heat. Tossed together with a gingery bracing dressing, this banchan is a vibrant and refreshing summer addition to any meal that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as I do.

Ginger Bracing Dressing

2 Tbsp Sugar

1/4 Cup Rice Syrup (available in Korean groceries, or substitute agave syrup if preferred)

1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 Cup Water

3 Tbsp Ginger, grated

I find the easiest way to prepare the dressing is to simply combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree for two or three minutes. With this method, you can also simply peel a 2” piece of ginger, cut it into coins and puree it with the remaining ingredients.  Conversely, you can warm the rice syrup in a microwave or over a water bath, and then whisk in the remaining ingredients.

For the Salad

3 Small Lemon Cucumbers sliced into thin rounds

5 Red Radishes sliced into thin rounds

1/2 Small Red Onion cut in julienne

1 Large Ripe White Nectarine cut into 1” dice

Sunflower Sprouts

2 tsp Korean Chili Flake

Prepare the cucumbers, radishes and onions and place in a bowl. Add the nectarines and sprinkle the salad with a little salt and the chili flake. Toss together and let the vegetables sit for a moment to soften. Fold in the sunflower sprouts and dress with the ginger bracing dressing.  This banchan should be enjoyed as soon as it’s made.