Hobak Bokkeum (호박 볶음)
This is the start of a series of posts dedicated to Korean summer squash, Choson hobak. I know. Everyone is super excited about this post, so hopefully the web traffic doesn't bring down Wix's servers. That'd be super embarrassing.
Since it's summer, and backyard gardens are starting to produce tons of fruits and veggies, we thought it'd be a good idea to put up some easy Korean recipe ideas for ways you can use zucchini (Korean or European). They are quick and simple ways to make delicious sides to any summer meal.
First up: HOBAK BOKKEUM - a summer favorite
Chosun (Joseon) hobak (조선호박 - I've also seen it called early bulam, Korean zucchini, and avocado squash) is a zucchini, but rounder, bigger, and meatier than its phallic cousins. It's incredibly easy to grow, but will take over your garden The melon shaped zucchini can grow incredibly large, like pumpkin sized, but should be harvested when roughly as large as a softball. As they get larger, there's less flesh to eat and they start to get hollow, but the taste is still good.
Hobak Bokkeum can be made with the common European zucchini, or the Korean version. The Korean zucchini is better because it's firmer and more meaty.
This is a simple stir-fry dish that goes great with any summer meal. It's a pretty standard Korean recipe that everyone seems to know. It's not a rock star, but a good recipe to have in your wheel house.
It does require a few specialty ingredients like salted shrimp and perilla oil, but there are some easy substitutions that can do the job.
1 Choson hobak (or zucchini)
3 teaspoons of salted shrimp (if you do not have, or if you want to make this vegan, use table salt but increase measurement slightly)
1 teaspoon of perilla oil (들기름) or sesame oil
1 TBSP of minced garlic
1/2 a thinly sliced onion
3 green onions
Slice the hobak into bite sized pieces, approx. 1/4" - 1/2" thick.
Heat a TBSP of neutral oil in a pan over medium heat
When pan is ready, add onion and garlic and stir fry for 2-3 minutes
Add hobak and mix
Add salted shrimp to pan and mix again with a wooden spoon
Let hobak cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often - it'll be ready when the color deepens to green and it softens slightly
When it's just about ready, add the perilla oil and mix
Serve as a side dish to any summer meal