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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cooking: These Greens are Earthy, Healthy and Delicious

Sorry I've been MIA. Here's a belated rave-cum-rant of the week. Rave for neng-ee, which is a green that's eaten with its root (with the dirt washed out and outer layer shaved off, of course). Rant because yes, you guessed it, you can't get neng-ee this fresh and fragrant stateside. What's up with that?

The best way to consume this green is neng-ee namul -- blanch it quickly and season it with dwenjang, Korean fermented soybean paste (NOT miso!), some sesame oil, sesame seeds and diced green onions.

OMG. It's sold in LA but it's just not nearly as flavorful. The biggest appeal of this green is its really earthy fragrance that complements so well with the saltiness of the soybean paste. That's why it's also added to arguably one of the most classic Korean dishes of all time, dwenjang jjigae, or fermented soybean paste stew. Ok, it doesn't sound like the most appetizing dish and some may say it's an acquired taste, but trust me, it's that good.

Some may be confused by the zillion greens featured in Korean cuisine but part of the fun is trying to decipher which green is on the table after tasting it. Chui namul? Spinach? Neng-ee?

In any case, it looks like I may have to start growing Korean veggies on a community garden somewhere in LA. Anyone know of a good plot? I will really miss the earthy and super flavorful vegetables and fruits in Korea.


Sandra said...
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ironchef442 said...

would love to but need to find a plot first! i already miss those greens...