Literally translated to “great full moon”, Daeboreum (대보름) is the day Koreans celebrate the first full moon of the Lunar new year. It falls on the 15th day of the lunar calendar, which is tomorrow! Most traditional rituals and activities that were believed to bring good health and luck have faded over time. The one thing that continues in most Korean homes is the custom of eating ogokbap (오곡밥, rice made with 5 grains and beans) and 9 different dried and fresh vegetable dishes for a healthy new year.
I made a few vegetable dishes today to celebrate Daeboreum, and decided to show you how to make chwinamul (취나물) bokkeum (stir-fried). Chwinamul (aster scaber) is a wild vegetable, with a bitter taste and distinctive aroma, that grows in the mountains of Korea. It’s hard to come across fresh chwinamul outside of Korea, but Korean markets are usually well stocked with packages of dried chwinamul.
There are several ways to rehydrate dried vegetables. Some people soak dried vegetables in water for several hours and then boil, but I like to boil first until almost tender and then leave it in the water to cool until soft. It works faster this way. This recipe provides a general guideline, but the required time for boiling and soaking will greatly depend on the condition of the dried vegetable.
Enjoy it as a side dish to any Korean meal or in bibimbap!
- about 2 ounces dried chwinamul (see note)
- 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (or perilla oil)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (or perilla seeds)
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallion
- Place the chwinamul in a medium to large pot filled with water 2/3 of the way.
- Bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and continue to boil, covered, until the stem part is soft, about 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be completely tender at this point. Turn off the heat, and cool the chwinamul in the cooking water until completely cooled and softened. Drain and wash thoroughly 2 to 3 times. Gently squeeze out excess water.
- Cut into 3-inch lengths if long. In a skillet, season the chwinamul with the soup soy sauce and minced garlic. Let it stand for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Sauté with the vegetable/canola oil for about 4 - 5 minutes over medium heat. You can add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water if it becomes dry. Stir in the sesame oil, and toss with sesame seeds and scallion before turning the heat off.
- This yields 4 to 6 servings as a side dish or 8 servings in bibimbap. The recipe can be easily cut in half if you want to make less.