In Korea, you may realize that winter has passed by the change of your dinner menu.  As the springtime comes, Koreans enjoy consuming bom-na-mul (봄나물: wild spring herbs) such as naeng-i (냉이: shepherd’s purse), dal-lae (달래: wild chive), sook (쑥: mugwort), and so on.  Koreans believe that foods that are in season are the best for one’s health and spring herbs are filled with nutritions that help you regain your strength and appetite.  Nowadays, popular herbs are available year-around as they are grown in greenhouses instead of being collected in the wild.

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Fresh shepherd’s purse from local marketplace

I love using naengi in many of my Korean recipes.  I could even get them in Canada at Korean grocery stores and would add them to my dwenjang jjigae (된장찌개: Korean miso soup) although they are slightly pricey.  Here in Korea, I could get a small plastic bag filled with fresh naengi for only 1,000 won.  What a steal!

Naengi Muchim (냉이무침: seasoned shepherd’s purse) is a simple side dish that goes great with plain white rice.  You can add some seasoned shepherd’s purse and a fried egg to a bowl of rice and mix it up like a bibimbap – try it, it’s awesome!

Ingredients:

fresh naengi (about 100g)

Sauce:

1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
1 tbsp dwenjang (fermented bean paste)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp maesil-cheong (Korean plum juice)
1 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Direction:

1. Cut bigger naengi into halves or quarters.

2. Because naengi is root vegetable, it may contain dirt within its stem and root.  Clean thoroughly under cold running water.

3. Add the naengi into boiling salted water and blanch for 2~3 minutes.

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Naeng-ee, blanched and washed.

 

4. Wash the cooked naengi with cold water then squeeze out the liquid.

5. In a large bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients except the sesame seeds.  Add the naengi and mix with your hand until incorporated with the sauce.

6. Plate the salad and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.

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