Recipes

Aster scaber side dish

Chwinamul 취나물

About 70 percent of Korean land is composed of mountains, so naturally there are many wild vegetable dishes in Korean cuisine. Today I’m introducing one of the most delicious, flavorful, and nutritious mountain vegetable delicacies to you.

When I lived in Korea, whenever I saw fresh chwinamul in the open air market for the first time in spring, I felt that spring was really in the air! And when I tasted chwinamul for the first time that year, I felt revitalized with energy from its slightly bitter taste and distinctive flavor.

“Yay! Spring has come, no more sour-tasting winter kimchi!”

Dried chwinamul is very tough and hard, and each stem looks like a thin thread. How can you possibly make it edible? It will never get softer by soaking in cold water for only 30 minutes. You’ll have to soak it overnight!

It takes time, but once you get accustomed to handling this, it’ll be very easy just like kimchi making.

Ingredients:
1 package (100-120 grams) of dried chwinamul (dried aster scaber), onion, garlic, canola oil, soy sauce, honey, roasted sesame seeds, and sesame oil.

Directions:

  1. Take the dried aster scaber out of the package and rinse it in cold water.
  2. Put it in a large pot. Fill the pot with with water, 3 inches above the chwinamul.
  3. Bring to a boil with the lid closed over high heat for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 2 hours.
  5. 2 hours later, rinse and drain it 3-4 times in cold water to remove dirt and grit.
  6. Put it back into the large pot and fill with water 4 or 5 inches above the chwinamul.
  7. Soak it overnight (about 10-12 hours). The volume of chwinamul will increase to about 5 cups
  8. Rinse and drain.
  9. Cut it into bite size pieces about 2 inches long.
  10. Slice 1 medium onion (1 cup’s worth) and mince 4 cloves of garlic.
  11. In a heated pan, add 2 tbs canola oil, sliced onion, garlic, and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  12. Add the chwinamul, 1/3 cup soy sauce, and 1 tbs honey and keep stirring for 8 minutes.
    *tip: Taste a sample. If it is still tough, add more water and simmer longer with the lid closed. 

  13. Turn off the heat and add 2 ts sesame oil and 1 tbs roasted sesame seeds.
  14. Garnish with silgochu (dried shredded red pepper) or pine nuts.

    cooked radish (muwoonamul) spinach side dish (sigeumchi namul)

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31 Comments:

  1. Kthaeh PA My profile page joined 5/14
    Posted May 26th, 2014 at 3:40 pm | # |

    Maangchi, I have a suggestion for you. When you boil, or steam vegetables, or even when you soak dried vegetables, you don’t need to throw away the water that remains. If you have any house plants, they will really appreciate this water. Many nutrients go into the water during cooking or steaming. The soil in the pots for houseplants can always use these beneficial nutrients. Just make SURE the water is cool before giving it to your plants. Don’t cook their roots!

  2. jrheegommo My profile page joined 12/10
    Posted January 26th, 2013 at 3:37 am | # |

    I don’t like Namuls that are sweet tasting. Is the honey absolutely necessary?

  3. peonygirl portland, oregon My profile page joined 8/09
    Posted November 5th, 2012 at 1:34 pm | # |

    I just made this Maangchi! It turned out perfectly- so nice with a little rice. I did the whole soaking process just like you said and it was very soft and tender. Perfect vegetarian dish- thank you!

  4. Preesi Philly, Pa My profile page joined 11/08
    Posted August 15th, 2012 at 1:50 pm | # |

    To anyone scared to try this, dont be, its so yummy!

    Make it at once!

  5. five2ne1 Santa Clarita, California My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 15th, 2011 at 5:02 am | # |

    AhhhhhHH! finally! i found a recipe for this dish! my grandma used to make me this dish because it was my favorite 반찬! 이 recipe를 올여주셔서 감사합니다!!!! 너무나 맛잇게 먹겠음니다!! 수고하세요!

  6. mokpochica Michigan My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/09
    Posted March 24th, 2011 at 11:27 pm | # |

    I kept contemplating buying this in the grocery store and finally decided to get some this past week because it is much cheaper than the kosari I usually make. When I was soaking it and took a taste, I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but after cooking and seasoning I thought it turned out great. I’m not sure I ever had this dish when I was in Korea–maybe I had fresh chwinamul instead of dried. It does not seem familiar, but it is definitely one I will put in my rotation of panchan now.

    I really like your shirt and the music for this video. And of course the presentation of the dish. My mouth is watering even though I just ate chwinamul!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 25th, 2011 at 7:09 am | # |

      I’m so glad to hear that you liked the chwinamul! You are really into Korean cuisine!
      “When I was in Korea–maybe I had fresh chwinamul instead of dried..” yes, I prefer fresh chwinamul because it’s much more flavorful.

      The shirt I wear in the video was purchased in Honduras when I traveled there. It was cheap cheap! Thank you very much!

  7. helloleticiaa My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted February 24th, 2011 at 1:04 pm | # |

    This really looks amazing! However, I’m not sure if I can find aster scaber here in the Netherlands, but I’ll do my best! (: Maangchi, can you tell me how aster scaber tastes? Can you compare the flavour with anything?

  8. LuccaQ Buffalo,NY My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted January 16th, 2011 at 9:38 pm | # |

    I really love this dish! I always enjoy trying a new vegetable dish. It has such a wonderful and unique flavor. The aroma kind of reminded me of some kind of herbal tea at first. Learning about how it’s grown in the mountains made me think of a manhwa I read by Kim Dong Hwa. It’s about a girl growing up in a small village during the olden days in Korea.

  9. tyas jakarta, indonesia My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted January 16th, 2011 at 9:32 pm | # |

    Hi, Maangchi.. :)
    Im Tyas from Indonesia.
    I’ve registered here just now.
    I love almost all of ur recipes :)

    but, i think its a lil’ difficult to find dried aster scaber here,
    may i change it with another veggie exists here, like fresh spinach or what’s the other veggie could u suggest me ?
    Thank you, maangchi :)

  10. eviLeviathanMaybe Philippines My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted January 16th, 2011 at 5:11 am | # |

    when you combine all those veggie dishes with rice these could make a mean vegetarian bibimbap XD

  11. all american pressure cooker san diego My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted January 14th, 2011 at 6:27 pm | # |

    Me too! I was wondering what that was the other day at the store. Now I know! It looks delicious. You just gave an idea for my lunch tomorrow.

  12. glitterstarbeau My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted January 13th, 2011 at 2:00 am | # |

    Should anything change if the aster scaber is freah?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 13th, 2011 at 2:46 pm | # |

      Yes, the recipes made with fresh chwinamul and dried chwinamul are totally different. I will post the other recipe when I see it.

  13. YiReservation New York My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted January 8th, 2011 at 11:54 pm | # |

    This looks amazing. I’ll definitely give it a shot if I can find the aster package in H-Mart.

  14. soko2usa Minnesota My profile page joined 4/09
    Posted January 6th, 2011 at 1:01 am | # |

    You made little flowers of side dish! That’s awesome! I have to try it now.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 6th, 2011 at 9:42 am | # |

      Thank you! You could make bibimbap with the leftover vegegetables. Put some warm rice in a bowl and place these vegetables on top. And mix it with hot pepper paste and sesame oil. That’s what I did with the leftover vegetables after filming this video. yummy!

  15. vb38 My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted January 5th, 2011 at 11:23 pm | # |

    Love the t-shirt! Thought I was alone but it seems everyone noticed it! Hahahahaha!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 6th, 2011 at 9:39 am | # |

      Many people mention the shirt which is great! I got it in Honduras. Once I saw it at a shopping mall in San Pedro Sula, I thought it could be used for my video. I’m glad to have chosen it.

  16. Kayla Baltimore, Maryland My profile page joined 11/10
    Posted January 5th, 2011 at 6:15 pm | # |

    Perfect timing for the new recipe! I’m going to the store tomorrow and have been making my shopping list. Chwinamul is now added! It looks kind of like the mustard greens my grandma would make (she grew them in our little garden and liked to come up with lots of ways to eat them besides raw in a salad). You say it has a bitter taste, too, which also makes me think of mustard greens. We’ll see day after tomorrow how they come out!

    Also, I absolutely love your shirt. <3

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 6th, 2011 at 9:37 am | # |

      “We’ll see day after tomorrow how they come out!” I’m looking forward to your feedback. Good luck with making delicious chwinamul!

  17. jierui Detroit My profile page joined 8/10
    Posted January 5th, 2011 at 5:16 pm | # |

    I have seen this stuff in the store and never knew what to do with it. Now I do! I wonder, is the aster scaber also available frozen, or just dried?


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