Banchan: Namul of Daikon Greens
A few days ago, I featured a recipe for Gamja Jorim, which is an example of a particular type of Korean Banchan (or side-dish) in which the main ingredients are simmered in a seasoned liquid medium. Today’s post involves another class of Banchan known collectively as ‘Namul’. A namul consists of seasoned vegetables (sometimes cooked, sometimes not) and for this recipe I will be using some of the Daikon greens grown by my wife this past summer. Other greens could be used, but this recipe is probably best suited to the coarser, more fibrous sorts…
- 1 bunch Daikon Greens, pre-blanched (see here for method);
- 1 tsp. Salt;
- 1 tbsp. chopped Garlic;
- 1 tbsp. Sugar;
- 2 tbsp. Mirin, or Rice Wine;
- 1 tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
- 1 tsp. Sesame Oil;
- 1 tsp. White Sesame seeds (for garnish).
First, sprinkle the greens with the salt, massaging it in well, and then leave it all to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. When the greens have wilted and thrown off some liquid, rinse them of excess salt and the squeeze vigorously to expel as much water as possible. Then, cut the stem sections into 3 inch pieces, chop the leafy portion and keep these two parts separate for now.
Heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil over a moderate flame and then sauté the stem sections until they are well softened. Add the garlic and continue to stir until it gives of its aroma, then add the sugar and allow it to dissolve.
Now add the remaining greens along with the Mirin (or rice wine) and the oyster sauce. Continue cooking over a low medium heat for 5 minutes or so and then, if necessary, turn up the heat to allow the sauce to reduce. You want only just a little liquid to remain. Stir in the sesame oil and the remove from the heat and let cool.
As with many Banchan dishes, this preparation can be stored for up to a week before use. This not only allows you to do quite a bit of work ahead of time if preparing a Korean feast, but it also allows for a handy item to have on hand for service at more than one meal.
Even with the salting and the cooking time, the result here was still a little fibrous and chewy but, despite that, it was still very good. The rice wine flavor really worked very well here and eating the dish cold allowed for some of the more delicate flavor of the greens to come through nicely. I will be adding this to my repertoire…