Springtime in Korea, people forage gosari from the mountains. At that time it’s green and fresh, so it can be eaten right away. They blanch and cook it, and they dry it until it’s brown and thin as thread, and then store it for a full year until the next spring, when they can gather more.

These days most people buy gosari in grocery stores. You may find it dried, presoaked, or fresh. I always buy dried, because it will keep in my pantry for months if it has to. You’ll have to prepare it a bit before you can cook with it. If you buy vacuum-packed presoaked gosari, it’s ready to use but you need to finish it within a few days once it’s opened.

Preparing dried gosari

1 ounce (about ¼ cup) dried gosari

With a pressure cooker:

  1. Cook the gosari with three times the water for 30 minutes.
  2. Take it out and cut into bite-size pieces.

In a pot on the stove:

  1. In a large saucepan add the gosari to 10 cups of water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 30 minutes. Cover and let stand until cool, about 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Rinse the fernbrake a couple of times, drain and put it in a bowl. Cover with fresh cold water and let soak for at least 8 hours or overnight in a cool place, changing the water 2 or 3 times during the soaking.
  3. Taste the gosari: It should be soft. If it’s tough, boil it again in a fresh pot of water for about 30 minutes and then let it sit, covered, until soft. Drain the fernbrake and cut into bite-size pieces.

Dried Fernbrakegosari

dried fernbrake

Dried fernbrake

Dried gosari


Soaked gosari

Gosari from North Korea, for sale in Noryangjin market, Seoul

Recipes that use fernbrake (gosari):


  1. 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,

  2. 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 joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      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!

  3. Mareen Jakarta, Indonesia joined 7/10 & has 1 comment

    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

  4. Lisbon88 Boston, MA joined 2/10 & has 4 comments

    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 joined 2/09 & has 101 comments

      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 joined 2/10 & has 4 comments

        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.

  5. 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 joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      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:

    • 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! :)

  6. yuyeon& has 3 comments

    how does it taste like?

  7. 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.

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

  9. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

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

  10. 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 :)

  11. 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.

  12. http://alessandrastarr.livejournal.com/& has 3 comments

    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.

  13. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    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.

  14. 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

  15. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Yes, I’m sure they sell it. I found good online store where you can get it. Check this out.

  16. 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

  17. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

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

  18. 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

  19. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    “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.”

  20. 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

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

  22. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

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

  23. Hi,

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

  24. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments


    $2.99! good deal! : )

  25. 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!

  26. Jennifer& has 20 comments


    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.

  27. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

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

  28. Jennifer& has 20 comments

    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!

  29. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

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

  30. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

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

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

  32. hi maangchi

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

    i dun hav it
    =( =(

  33. Thank you very much…

  34. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    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!

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

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