Korean jellyfish salad is a refreshing side dish that is colorful and has lots of different, wonderful textures. If you like fresh, cold, & crunchy vegetable-heavy dishes, then this is for you!
I recently had my very first pop-up at the Japanese-American Cultural & Community Center, and I served this as the 1st course in my 5-course menu. To my surprise, a lot of people said this was their favorite dish on my menu!
I knew I wanted to include something that most people probably haven’t tried, and I wanted to start off something unique. Jellyfish salad is a popular party or buffet food in Korea, but in the west you hardly ever see jellyfish in any dishes.
What does jellyfish taste like?
Salted jellyfish doesn’t really have much flavor, but the texture is wonderful. It has a similar texture to cartilage, which is crunchy and chewy, and it absorbs whatever flavor it is marinated in.
Combined with crunchy veggies, asian pear, jidan (Korean egg garnish), and hot mustard vinaigrette, this dish is refreshing and super tasty!
Salted jellyfish– you should be able to find this at most Korean and Chinese supermarkets. They are in the refrigerated section and come in packages. My local Korean market actually has this in the seafood section to purchase by weight, so you can try looking there too.
Veg/fruit– your choice of bell peppers, Persian cucumber, and Asian pear. Feel free to add other vegetables if you like! Sometimes I see carrots and onions added.
Jidan– jidan is a Korean egg garnish used in many dishes. It is made by separating the yolks from the whites and cooking it separately over very low heat. Then it’s cut into thin strips.
Imitation crab– either shredded or cut into thin strips. If you prefer, you can use cooked shrimp instead.
Hot mustard vinaigrette- hot mustard powder, garlic, salt, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and mayo (optional).
Tips for making jellyfish salad
Prep the jellyfish and the hot mustard vinaigrette a day ahead
The longer the jellyfish and hot mustard vinaigrette marinate in the fridge, the better it will taste! If time permits, I recommend soaking, blanching, and marinating the jellyfish in rice vinegar, salt, and sugar the day before you plan to eat it. This will help to get rid of any residual fishiness after soaking the jellyfish.
The hot mustard vinaigrette will also taste better the next day, plus the viscosity will be better after setting up in the fridge.
Do not toss the salad in the hot mustard vinaigrette until you are ready to serve!
I know it seems like you should do this so the ingredients absorb more of the flavor, but it will cause the veggies to wilt. I don’t know about you but I like my cold raw vegetables to be crunchy. Keep the dressing separate until you are ready to eat.
Jellyfish Salad (Haepari Naengchae)
For the jellyfish
- 1/2 lb salted jellyfish
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs yolks and white separated
- 1 Persian cucumber
- 1 small bell pepper, any color
- 1/2 Asian pear
- 2 sticks imitation crab
- 1 green onion optional, for scallion curls
Hot mustard vinaigrette
- 1 tbsp hot mustard powder
- 1 tbsp warm water
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 4 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tbsp mayo optional, not traditional
- Thoroughly rinse off the salt and soak the jellyfish in cold water for 1 hour. Prep the other ingredients in the meantime.
Make the Jidan (egg strips)
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites and season each with a pinch of salt. Gently whisk together (try not to create too many bubbles).
- On a non-stick pan over low heat, add a very thin layer of oil (wipe with a paper towel to make a thin layer), then add the egg yolks and let it spread on its own. Flip over once the top is almost set, then turn off the heat.
- Repeat with the egg whites, then set aside to let it cool.
- Cut the egg yolks and egg whites into thin strips.
Prep the veg/fruit/imitation crab
- Wash the cucumber then cut out the core where the seeds are. Either throw it away, repurpose it, or just eat them like I do 🙂 Cut the rest of the cucumber into thin strips.
- Remove the skin from the Asian pear and cut into thin strips. Soak in sugar water so they don't oxidize.
- Cut bell pepper into thin strips- I used red and orange, and you also need to shred or cut the imitation crab meat.
Make the hot mustard vinaigrette
- Combine the mustard powder with warm water and mix until a paste forms. Then add rice vinegar, salt, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, & sesame oil. This isn't traditional, but my best friend adds mayo to her vinaigrette. It gives it a touch of nuttiness and mellows out the vinegar. I like it with or without, but if you prefer a lighter & more refreshing dressing, I would leave the mayo out.
- Mix until smooth then keep in the fridge until ready to use. This can be made a day ahead and will actually taste better as it marinates!
Prepare the jellyfish
- Drain the soaking water for the jellyfish, then put it in a colander and pour 2-3 cups of boiling hot water over it. Careful not to cook the jellyfish- we are just very quickly blanching it so it shrivels up and changes the texture a bit. You don't have to do this step, but I prefer the texture of the jellyfish this way.
- Squeeze out all the moisture then cut the jellyfish if your pieces are very long.
- Add salt, sugar, and rice vinegar. Mix together and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Pour the hot mustard vinaigrette over the dish and serve cold. This plating is how it is traditionally served, and people can just grab whichever ingredients they like and make themselves a plate.
- Or you can toss it all together and serve it this way, which is what I did for my pop-up as the first course.