Stir-fried chwinamul (aster scaber) is a popular side dish in Korea. Using dried chwinamul, it’s fairly easy to rehydrate and stir-fry this fragrant vegetable.
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, including gosari namul and doraji namul, 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), which is a common dish for Daeboreum.
What is chwinamul?
Chwinamul (aster scaber) is a wild leafy vegetable, with a bitter taste and distinctive aroma, that grows in the mountains and fields of Korea. It’s hard to come across fresh chwinamul outside Korea, but Korean markets and on-line Korean shopping 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. 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!
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Chwinamul Bokkeum (Stir-fried Aster Scaber)Side Dish
- about 2 ounces dried chwinamul see note
- 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce (or regular soy sauce) or to taste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons cooking 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 ⅔ 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, up to 3 to 4 hours. Drain and wash thoroughly 2 to 3 times. Drain again.