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.
1 package (100-120 grams) of dried chwinamul (dried aster scaber), onion, garlic, canola oil, soy sauce, honey, roasted sesame seeds, and sesame oil.
- Take the dried aster scaber out of the package and rinse it in cold water.
- Put it in a large pot. Fill the pot with with water, 3 inches above the chwinamul.
- Bring to a boil with the lid closed over high heat for 25-30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for 2 hours.
- 2 hours later, rinse and drain it 3-4 times in cold water to remove dirt and grit.
- Put it back into the large pot and fill with water 4 or 5 inches above the chwinamul.
- Soak it overnight (about 10-12 hours). The volume of chwinamul will increase to about 5 cups
- Rinse and drain.
- Cut it into bite size pieces about 2 inches long.
- Slice 1 medium onion (1 cup’s worth) and mince 4 cloves of garlic.
- In a heated pan, add 2 tbs canola oil, sliced onion, garlic, and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- 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.
- Turn off the heat and add 2 ts sesame oil and 1 tbs roasted sesame seeds.
- Garnish with silgochu (dried shredded red pepper) or pine nuts.
cooked radish (muwoonamul) spinach side dish (sigeumchi namul)