Korean cooking ingredients

Fernbrake

Kosari 고사리

In the spring in Korea people gather kosari from the mountains. At that time it’s green and fresh, so it can be eaten right away. They blanch and cook it.

They also dry kosari until it’s brown and thin as thread. If you buy dried kosari in the store, you’ll have to boil and soak it until it’s soft before you can cook with it.

Here’s how to soak and prepare dried kosari:

  1. Put the kosari in pot of cold water. 1 cup of kosari will need more than 20 cups of water.
  2. Boil it for 30 minutes, then let it soak in the hot water for about 6-8 hours. I usually boil it at night and let it soak until morning.

Fresh or dried (and soaked) kosari can be used for yukgaejang or bibimbap.

kosari

dried fernbrake

dried fernbrake

dried kosari

kosari

soaked kosari

Recipes that use fernbrake (kosari):

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59 Comments:

  1. Miss Kim78 socali My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted March 19th, 2014 at 4:55 am | # |

    I totally miss going gosari picking! My family and I used to go all the time when I was a kid. We used to go around Big Bear, here in socali. We would climb up the mountains and bring huge bags to stuff all the gosari in. We even had gosari picking contests (with family friends) to see who can pick the most gosari. Fun times!

    Not too long ago, I made gosari banchan. And it was the first time having gosari in a while…making that brought back childhood memories of going up to the mountains in our RV. http://www.behgopa.com/2014/02/gosari-namul-fernbrake-side-dish-and.html

    • ddnorman Southern NH, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/13
      Posted March 19th, 2014 at 11:36 am | # |

      To anyone who enjoys a good story…

      I would recommend reading MissKim’s gosari picking story! It’s precious and it really brought back some good memories of my family going shellfishing many many years ago! In fact it inspired me to make my first post outside of Maangchi’s website. I give her 2 thumbs up for a very interesting and addictive blog! ^__^

      Dave

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 20th, 2014 at 10:26 am | # |

      Thank you for sharing the blog story! “We even had gosari picking contests” You will never forget what gosari looks like in the mountain. : )
      I posted your gosarinamul photo on google plus Koreanfood group. https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/105178906808206746596/communities/105245991552998515026

  2. isabela95 Western North Carolina My profile page joined 6/11
    Posted December 31st, 2012 at 5:32 am | # |

    Sorry I didn’t check this discussion before I tried to make some kosari with dried fernbracken I bought about a year ago.

    It had very brief instructions in English which said to boil it for 20 minutes, drain, and then soak in cold water for an hour, then mix with sesame oil, soy sauce, shiitake muishroom powder, and red pepper and stir fry.

    I had used just a small bit of it when I first bought it, then placed it in a ziploc bag.

    I had no idea how much to use so I prepared the WHOLE BAG.

    What a waste. It wasn’t softened properly and I had two HUGE bowls of it. (If I had used 20 cups of water for each cup of dried bracken I would have had to move out of my house to make room for it! :-)

  3. Francesca Port Hadlock, Washington, U.S.A. My profile page joined 3/11
    Posted May 8th, 2012 at 5:47 pm | # |

    Hello, Maangchi…

    You’ve been my Teacher for about three years, but this is the first time I’ve written to ask you a question. Your instructions are so complete I’ve never had to ask one before- but this isn’t exactly about a recipe…

    Here goes!

    I’m trying to learn how to gather, process, and dry bracken for kosari… I live in Washington State and am gathering bracken for experimenting with. So far, I’ve soaked overnight (with soda), rinsed, boiled in fresh water, and put to dry about ten pounds but I have no idea if I’m doing it right.

    Can you help with the old way that Korean people handled and dried the bracken after gathering? I’m hoping you might know about this from your Mother/ Grandmother, or if not, that you might know someone else who’s willing to share the knowledge!

    There aren’t any instructions online- just a few casual references…For example, I read that in Korea the ferns were either soaked or boiled with wood ashes, but no mention of what kind, or when/why/how much to add.
    I think this was done to remove bitterness/toxins-?

    My questions are:
    1) How much of the fresh stalk can be used?
    2) Should I presoak them in cold water overnight before cooking? (With/without ashes/soda???)
    3) What’s the story with the wood ashes?
    4) Should I cut the stalks in half before soaking/cooking, or leave them whole?
    5) How long should I boil them?Is it a matter of proper texture/feel?- should they be “squishy”???
    6) I notice that dried kosari from the market is pretty thin…should I crush the thicker stalks while boiling so they’ll sort of splinter apart?

    Any help you can give will be much appreciated.

    Thanks, I hope!

    Francesca

    • kmsand4 United States My profile page joined 9/12
      Posted September 10th, 2012 at 11:18 am | # |

      My mother and I would always use all of the fernbrake.
      If they are already dried, we would just throw them in the pot of boiling water but you can also pre-soak them as you would with dried beans over night.
      And back in traditional times, they would use wood ashes since this also gave a slow but steady temp to dry and preserve them. My mother and I would lay them out on newspapers in a storage room and keep the door closed w/a normal room fan turned on to dry them before storing them in big black trash bags to use when we needed.
      You can either leave them whole or cut them up into bite size pieces. We actually would just leave them whole.
      And don’t crush them so that they splinter. Leave them whole.
      Enjoy the meal! :D

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 11th, 2012 at 11:35 am | # |
  4. sasha philippines My profile page joined 7/11
    Posted August 21st, 2011 at 9:31 am | # |

    hi do you know how to make kosari cause here in my place in Philippines korean store is very far..I wonder if i can make kosari out from native fern growing here on my place its called “paco” or “vegetable fern” we used to eat it fresh on salad or sautéed
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplazium_esculentum
    http://homecookingrocks.com/guinataang-paco-vegetable-fern-with-pork-and-coconut-cream/

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 21st, 2011 at 8:46 pm | # |

      Check out my bibimbap recipe. http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/bibimbap I use gosari in the recipe. You can sautee it by following the direction in the recipe.
      “You can buy soaked and cooked “kosari” at a Korean grocery store. Prepare about 2 or 3 cups of kosari for this 4 servings of bibimbap. Cut it into pieces 5-7 cm long and sauté in a heated pan with 1 ts of vegetable oil. Stir and add 1 tbs of soy sauce, 1/2 tbs of sugar, and cook them for 1-2 minutes. Add sesame oil. “

  5. asian206 My profile page joined 12/10
    Posted December 7th, 2010 at 2:55 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I was wondering in the bibimbap can i use sweet potato sprout instead of fernbrake, I went to H-mart and they don’t carry fernbrake at all.

  6. frankenstein My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted September 12th, 2010 at 5:14 pm | # |

    Dear Maangchi,

    All of your recipes that I have tried so far have been fantastic. Thank you very much for posting everything!
    I was wondering, though– would one rehydrate the toran in the same way as the kosari?
    Thanks in advance,
    Ren

  7. miss.jane My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted September 3rd, 2010 at 3:53 am | # |

    I boiled my kosari for about 40 minutes in the evening and then left it soaking over night. About half of it turned out quite mushy and I read elsewhere on the site that it shouldn’t be mushy, so I picked through and kept only the firmer stems. Did I boil it too long? Or maybe soaked it too long?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 3rd, 2010 at 8:17 am | # |

      oh,I’m sorry to hear that it turned out mushy! You might have boiled it too long. This is my method of soaking gosari.
      1. Place kosari in cold water in a pot. 1 cup of kosari will need
      more than 20 cups of water.
      2. Boil it for 30 minutes and don’t drain hot water and let it soak. Wait about 6-8 hours.
      I usually boil it at night and drain it next morning.
      That’s it!

      • miss.jane My profile page joined 9/10
        Posted September 4th, 2010 at 1:12 pm | # |

        Thanks! I will keep a closer eye on the clock when boiling next time.

        BTW, my bibimbap still turned out fab thanks to your great recipe! Next time I will have to make more as my guests were practically licking their plates!

  8. Mareen Jakarta, Indonesia My profile page joined 7/10
    Posted July 29th, 2010 at 8:19 am | # |

    hey there =)
    if i bought the boiled kosari, the purpleish one (like the one on the last pic), can i still use it for making yuk gae jang? what should i do with it? do i have to soaked it one whole day or anything, coz i’m planning to cook straight away… thanks a lot

  9. Lisbon88 Boston, MA My profile page joined 2/10
    Posted February 14th, 2010 at 2:19 pm | # |

    The fiddlehead ferns collected in Maine (USA) are Ostrich ferns or Cinnamon ferns. I’ve heard warnings of not collecting the new growth of bracken although I think that’s because it looks so much like Sweet Fern, which is not a fern at all & not edible (although wikipedia says it can be smoked :-). So Fiddleheads can actually be several different types of ferns, including bracken. The fresh Maine fiddleheads (Ostrich fern) I’ve had taste a lot like asparagus, after the tannic/bitterish paper is removed. Given the price of fresh fiddleheads in New England asparagus might be a better choice.

    I have tried to soak, then cook the dried bracken I bought at a Korean market, but after HOURS of simmering it was still tannic/bitterish & hard. Should I have changed the simmering water several times? Salted it? Done something different? I’m intrigued by the idea of cooking an unfamiliar food – especially a foraged one – but I’m not sure this one is worth trying again. I’ve had bibimbap with a little bracken as a garnish & it was good, but maybe I can substitute soaked wakame or soaked/shredded tree ears. Similar texture & flavor but much easier. ???

    • Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/09
      Posted February 14th, 2010 at 4:02 pm | # |

      Hi Lisbon88. You tried to soak and then cook the kosari?
      I always do it other way around.
      When i need it the next day, the evening before i:
      -Boil it for half an hour.
      -Turn off the heat and let it sit as it is on the stove overnight.
      -In the morning drain it and put in in the fridge.
      -For diner i cook it for my bibimbap

      Hope it works!

      • Lisbon88 Boston, MA My profile page joined 2/10
        Posted May 30th, 2010 at 6:39 pm | # |

        Thanks for the quick response – it took me a while to try again. Your method worked beautifully. Our friends loved the bibimbap as well & now they’ve been turned on to this website!
        Looked like you had a blast doing the video with Maangchi. Thanks again Reinier.

        • Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/09
          Posted July 13th, 2010 at 5:42 pm | # |

          Hi Lisbon88. Nice to hear it worked, i just prepared some kosari just now.
          Yeah, making the hoddeok video was so much fun!!

  10. A. Peon
    Posted August 15th, 2009 at 11:34 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, love this website and all the information!

    We recently got a chance to sample this vegetable at a hwan-gap banquet, and I have a bit of a story aboute it. Served as a buffet item, the stems were pickled and gray (probably started like the second, brown picture). Of course we were quite surprised when what looked like handmade noodles turned out to be a vegetable! For the person asking about the flavor – prepared that way, there was not much of a distinct taste beyond the pickling, and it was more about the texture – sort of chewy-tough in a vegetable way, but not stringy om the way other chewy vegetables can be.

    Of course, after the banquet, we had to ask a friend “what was that?” When it turned out to be kosari, we got a worried look, with the explanation that it’s ‘not good for men’ and that monks eat it because it’s ‘very calming’ (subtext implied)! No ill effects were noted, despite the admonition. :)

    Now, seeing the name spelled out here, I was able to look it up on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosari (redirects to ‘Bracken fern’, mentioning kosari as the Korean name), and if the article can be trusted… it might not be the healthiest vegetable for other reasons: possibly linked to stomach cancer; and the reported toxicity to blood cells and presence of an enzyme that destroys vitamin B1 might explain the ‘calming’ reputation – but being ‘calmed’ by anemia or vitamin deficiency wouldn’t be good! [The article doesn’t say if any preparation methods are known to reduce the bad compounds; that would be good to research.]

    Just being alive is toxic, but having found that caution, I wanted to share it in case anyone is thinking of eating a lot of this as a “health” food.

    Anyhow, the article also explains what it is: fern stems and fiddleheads, which are also an American delicacy. I’m going to have to find out if American fiddleheads come from the same ferns and warrant the same caution, but they’re a “rare” seasonal item, so it’d be hard to overdo it (at least in the Northeast, sounds like Northwesterners might want to practice moderation?).

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 16th, 2009 at 9:37 am | # |

      Interesting comments! Thank you for the good information!

      I know that some people think Kosari might be unhealthy, but Koreans have been eating it for so long it’s hard to believe.

      Here’s another interesting article I found on the subject:
      http://www.traderscreek.com/Survival_Guide/Edible_Plants/Bracken_Fern/bracken_fern.asp

    • Kashipan
      Posted January 1st, 2010 at 11:58 pm | # |

      In defense of kosari, I bought some recently after noticing that every possible food stand in Tsuruhashi (Osaka’s Koreatown) was selling fresh plastic bagfulls of it. After initially worrying about it because of this warning post and doing some research of my own, I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as you’re not eating the rolled up tips (called fiddleheads) and you’re not eating them RAW, you have very minimal chance of getting stomach cancer from it.

      None of the articles regarding the carcinogenic qualities of bracken provide any proof that it’s a direct cause of stomach cancer in humans. They can’t even seem to prove whether or not it may be linked to it. Worst I’ve seen is speculation that it may cause stomach cancer in cows (eaten raw out on the field). Not exactly damning evidence that kosari will kill you and you shouldn’t eat it. ;)

      For me personally, the most convincing proof I’ve seen that nothing’s wrong with it is that my Japanese mother-in-law, who has had stomach cancer and is also a nurse, has no problem at all with eating it. Her only advice was to make sure it’s well boiled before eating it. It’s called warabi in Japanese, btw, and folks seem to love it here, too! :)

  11. yuyeon
    Posted July 30th, 2009 at 3:50 pm | # |

    how does it taste like?

  12. Keoni
    Posted April 21st, 2009 at 7:29 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I wanted to find out how do I dry Kosari? I can’t remember if I need to blanch them first or just lay them out to dry. I live in Washington State and we can pick it fresh up here but would like to preserve them too. Please let me know what I can do to dry them.

  13. caroline
    Posted December 19th, 2008 at 6:19 pm | # |

    how does kosari taste like. If i can’t find it, any replacement? Thanks

  14. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 4th, 2008 at 5:22 pm | # |

    meiling,
    What a good deal! I would like to buy some, too! : )

  15. meileng
    Posted November 4th, 2008 at 11:27 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, guess what? I managed to buy fresh green kosari from the market, yippee! :) Can’t believe I didn’t notice this vege before. And the price is only 30 cents per bunch (6-7 stalks). I’ll keep u updated on my bibimbap making :)

  16. meileng
    Posted October 31st, 2008 at 10:36 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, how does kosari taste like? i’m not sure whether i can get it over here, so can i substitute with another vege (maybe pickled) instead? i’m planning to make bibimbap next week.

  17. http://alessandrastarr.livejournal.com/
    Posted September 16th, 2008 at 3:14 pm | # |

    Oddly you can pick kosari wild in some of the forests in England. I remember going with my mom on trips with her friends and picking so many garbage bags full.

  18. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted September 14th, 2008 at 2:08 pm | # |

    Chad,
    Why don’t you make steamed egg side dish? All Koreans love it and it’s very simple recipe. Check all my recipes and find some that you can make it easily. All the dishes posted on my website are very basic and popular dishes among Koreans.

  19. Chad
    Posted September 14th, 2008 at 10:55 am | # |

    i live in the USA, South Dakota. anyways i have a Korean Student living here with us for a couple years, i want to prepare some Korean food for him, can you help me with some easy Recipes, some things i cant get here,even at the asian store
    thanks

  20. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted September 13th, 2008 at 11:47 am | # |

    Anonymous,
    Yes, I’m sure they sell it. I found good online store where you can get it. Check this out.
    http://www.koamart.com/shop/12-1408-dried_food-dried_fernbrake_6oz.asp

  21. Anonymous
    Posted September 13th, 2008 at 11:30 am | # |

    Hi, Maangchi!
    Um, I was wondering if a Chinese supermarket would sell kosari because the Korean market is so many miles away from my house. Thanks for your help. :D

  22. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted September 7th, 2008 at 11:56 pm | # |

    Tetyana
    The same recipe! Boiled fern means it’s ready to be cooked.

  23. Tetyana
    Posted September 7th, 2008 at 8:36 pm | # |

    Maangchi,

    Actually I looked and it says “Boiled Fern”, and it is green color. Could you please tell me how to cook this kind of kosari?

    Thank you for your help

  24. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted September 6th, 2008 at 1:13 am | # |

    Tetyana,
    “Cut them 5-7 cm in length and sauté it in a heated pan with 1 ts of vegetable oil. Stir it and add 1 TBS of soy sauce, half TBS of sugar, and cook it for 1-2 minutes and add sesame oil.”

  25. Tetyana
    Posted September 6th, 2008 at 12:25 am | # |

    Maangchi,

    How do you prepair fresh green kosari? I’ve just bought fresh and dry kosari at the korean market, but don’t know how to use the fresh one, particularly in bibimpap. I am so excited to cook it for my husband as he looooves bibimpap.

    And by the way, thank you sooooo much for your site

  26. mattlai
    Posted August 16th, 2008 at 10:07 pm | # |

    hahah yes maangchi
    i couldnt help but get it right away!!

  27. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 16th, 2008 at 8:21 pm | # |

    Jenny, it’s kosari or gosari in Korean. (고사리)

  28. Jenny
    Posted August 16th, 2008 at 6:12 pm | # |

    Hi,

    I love your website but one question… what is the “Kosari” name in Korean?

  29. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 16th, 2008 at 7:29 am | # |

    mattlai,

    $2.99! good deal! : )

  30. mattlai
    Posted August 16th, 2008 at 2:26 am | # |

    for those also confused about other names of this product, Kosari is also called FERN, FERNBRACKEN, DRIED GREENS & WILD GREENS. I went to hmart today and bought a 2LB package of fresh Kosari for 2.99!

  31. Jennifer
    Posted August 15th, 2008 at 11:45 pm | # |

    Maangchi

    Yes it can be stir fried (after washing it a couple times to get the sand out)

    My mom usually boils it once drying is done, then she would steam them to eat with warm bowl of rice .. adding the fish sauce and pepper.

  32. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 15th, 2008 at 8:23 am | # |

    Jennifer,
    I didn’t know Thai people eat this. : )

  33. Jennifer
    Posted August 15th, 2008 at 2:49 am | # |

    I used to go with my mom to pick these.. this is really popular with thai people, they usually soak it in water for awhile and then lay it out in the sun to dry. It is good to eat but so much work trying to pick them!

  34. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted May 30th, 2008 at 11:29 pm | # |

    skip kosari if you can’t find it. It will still be delicious.

  35. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted May 30th, 2008 at 11:27 pm | # |

    ? Didn’t you see the photo of dried kosari here?

  36. Anonymous
    Posted May 30th, 2008 at 1:59 pm | # |

    What does dried kosari look like? Do you have a photo of it?

  37. Anonymous
    Posted May 30th, 2008 at 6:37 am | # |

    hi maangchi

    do we have to add kosari when cooking bibimbap???

    i dun hav it
    =( =(

  38. Love Poems
    Posted April 2nd, 2008 at 9:00 pm | # |

    Thank you very much…

  39. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted April 1st, 2008 at 10:41 pm | # |

    Dried kosari

    1. Place kosari in cold water in a
    pot. 1 cup of kosari will need
    more than 20 cups of water.

    2. Boil it for 30 minutes and don’t drain hot water and let it soak. Wait about 6-8 hours.
    I usually boil it at night and drain it next morning.
    That’s it!

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 7th, 2009 at 8:26 am | # |

      Hi, I bought dried kosari, soaked (6 hrs) and boiled (2 times)before cooking them but I still find some are very hard.
      What should I do?

    • Chai
      Posted September 3rd, 2009 at 9:07 pm | # |

      Hi Maangchi

      Thanks for sharing your recipes and all the effort.

      My daughter just loves Bibimbap. My question is: Can the water that is used to boil & soak the dried kosari be used as cooking stock?

  40. Love Poems
    Posted April 1st, 2008 at 10:19 am | # |

    Hi,
    what is the proper way to cook kosari…I’d like to make bibimbap..please help me…thanks


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