Today I’m going to show you how to make haepari-naengchae, a side dish made with salted jellyfish strips. The thinly sliced crunchy jellyfish mixed with colorful ingredients and a spicy garlicky mustard sauce is a real delicacy. The dish is usually served on a large chilled glass plate with all the colorful ingredients arranged side by side, just like bibimbap. It’s so colorful and it’s always one of the most popular party foods at any gathering. It’s served very cold so it’s very refreshing, too.
It’s my favorite dish at Korean buffets, and it’s also regularly served as a side dish to alcohol, like beer, makgeolli, and soju. The jellyfish itself doesn’t have much of a taste. One pound of jellyfish, after all the washing and rinsing of the salt, comes out to only 5 ounces! With the cool pear and cucumber, colorful artificial crabmeat, and zingy mustard garlic sauce, this salad is refreshing, fun to eat, with a lot of different tastes and textures (and sounds!) in every bite.
For the jellyfish:
- 1 pound shredded, salted shredded jellyfish (usually 1 package)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
For the mustard garlic sauce:
- 1 tablespoon Korean mustard seed powder (Gyeoja-garu)
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey, optional
For the salad:
- ½ English cucumber, cut into matchsticks and refrigerated
- 3 to 4 artificial crab meat, split and cut into 2 1/2 inch long thin threads
- 1 Korean pear (or any crispy pear)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 eggs to make gyeran jidan, yellow and white egg paper strip garnishes (optional)
How to soak and season the salted jellyfish strips:
- Wash the jellyfish strips in cold water and remove all the salt. Soak in a large bowl of cold water for at least 1 hour.
- Bring a pot with 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of cold water to lower the water temperature to about 160°F (70°C).
- Strain the jellyfish and add to the warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon for 10 seconds.
- Strain the jelly fish and rinse in cold running water. Soak in a large bowl of cold water for 1 hour to overnight.
- Strain and squeeze out the excess water and put the jellyfish in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon vinegar and mix well. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make yellow and white egg paper strips (if you use):
- Separate the eggs, putting the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.
- Add a pinch of salt to the whites and beat them with a fork. Strain over a bowl to get an even consistency.
- Heat up a non-stick skillet. Add a few drops of vegetable oil to the skillet and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet. Turn off the heat and wipe off the excess oil with a paper towel.
- Pour the whites into the skillet and tilt the skillet so the whites coat the bottom of the skillet in a thin, even layer. Let sit in the hot pan long enough to set the whites, just a few minutes.
- Lift the edge of the whites with a spatula and flip them over. Let sit until just set. If it’s still uncooked, turn on the heat to very low and cook a little longer.
- Slide onto a cutting board. Let cool and slice into 2½ inch long matchsticks. Set aside.
- Prepare the eggs yolks the same way. Set aside.
Make mustard garlic sauce:
- Combine the mustard powder and warm water in a small bowl and mix well. Let it sit for 5 minutes until the mustard powder’s spicy flavor is well activated.
- Add garlic, soy sauce, kosher salt, sugar, vinegar, and honey (if used). Mix well until the sugar and salt are well dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place 3 cups of cold water and 5 to 7 ice cubes into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and stir until well mixed.
- Peel and core the pear and cut into matchsticks. Add them to the bowl of cold sugar water, which will keep them from turning brown.
Arrange the jellyfish salad and serve:
- Put the cucumber, artificial crab meat, and yellow and white egg strips side by side on a large, chilled plate.
- Strain the pear matchsticks and add them to the plate.
- Add 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil to the seasoned jellyfish and mix well. Add to the center of the plate.
- Drizzle the garlic mustard sauce over the top of the dish and sprinkle with pine nuts and serve right away as a side dish to a meal or as a snack with beer or soju.