Gochujang-Glazed Zucchini With Fried Scallions

Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Zucchini glazed with gochujang from 'Korean American' by Eric Kim.
(Jenny Huang)
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This preparation of vegetables (or rather fruits, since zucchini are technically fruits) is near and dear to my heart because it was the first time in my career that I saw a recipe of mine go viral. People cooked this; even more, they started riffing on the base vegetable, which made me so happy. Originally published in the New York Times using eggplant, this recipe stars zucchini that tastes best just barely cooked, perhaps with a little char, but mostly still raw and crunchy inside. The fried scallions are worth the extra effort. Trust me.


Place the zucchini in a colander set inside a large bowl or the sink. Sprinkle with the salt, toss and let sit for 30 minutes to drain slightly.


Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the gochujang, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic. Set the gochujang sauce aside. Cut the scallions crosswise into 3-inch segments, then slice each segment lengthwise into thin strips. Keep the white and green parts separate.


In a large skillet, combine the vegetable oil and scallion whites. Set the pan over medium heat and fry the scallions, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the scallion greens to the hot oil and cook until all of the scallions are crispy and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer the fried scallions to a paper towel. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully pour the hot scallion oil into a glass container or measuring cup.


After the 30 minutes of salting, dry the zucchini with a cloth or paper towel. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved scallion oil. When the oil starts to shimmer and you see a wisp of smoke, add the zucchini, cut sides down, and fry until slightly charred but still bright green and crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip once and cook on the other side until slightly charred at the edges, about 1 more minute.


Remove from the heat and pour the reserved gochujang sauce over the zucchini. Toss until evenly coated and the gochujang starts to thicken and get glossy in the residual heat of the pan, about 1 minute. Plate the zucchini on a large platter and garnish with the fried scallions. Serve immediately.

Reprinted from “Korean American” (Clarkson Potter, 2022) by Eric Kim.