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Shigumchi Namul (Spinach Namul) Recipe

May 27, 2012

Shigumchi Namul

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather. It has been so hot in Indianapolis – and it’s going to be 96 degrees today! It’s like it is mid-summer already!

Anyhoo =), I had been craving well grown shigumchi/spinach namul for a very long time – probably even before early spring, since in Korea grown spinach comes out into the market during late winter. They grow it in the more warm islands west of Seoul, like Kangwhado.

I went to Whole Foods last week, and they had them – yay, finally! Because baby spinach is so popular in the States, it’s rather hard to find spinach with all the stems and roots. It actually makes me sad, because when you make namul out of well grown spinach, they are so good. You just can’t make shigumchi/spinach namul with baby spinach. Baby spinach gets really mushy when you blanch them, even if you blanch them really quickly.

So in order to celebrate, I bought three bunches and made shigumchi namul multiple times! ๐Ÿ™‚

Shigumchi Namul (Spinach Namul) Recipe

1 bunch of Shigumchi /Spinach
salt to taste
sesame oil to taste
1/8 tsp soy sauce (or to taste – optional)
1/8 tsp diced garlic (or to taste – optional)
sprinkle of sesame seeds

1. Wash the spinach. Cut off the ends/roots very slightly if they are not already cut. You want to have the pink-ish ends, they are very sweet and yummy!
2. Blanch them in boiling water for 20-40 seconds. Like Suukgat, be sure itโ€™s soft but crisp, and not mushy!
3. Wash in cold water and squeeze out the water. Youโ€™ll see how they shrink down so much.
4. Tear each spinach plant vertically to separate the leaves into single strands and put in a mixing bowl.
5. Add the other ingredients accordingly to your taste and mix well with your clean, dry hands! You can even go with just salt and sesame oil if you want a more simple taste. We do that often.
6. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top or mix it in, and itโ€™s ready! Enjoy as banchan – eat your greens! ;)

You want your shugumchi to be whole plants, so you can still see the yummy pink ends!

Salted Shigumchi
Namul is quick and easy to make. A little salt and sesame oil and you’re there!

Shigumchi Namul
Mmm…healthy and delicious shigumchi namul!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2012 4:39 pm

    Asian food is simply a gigantic set of different cuisines and I have never really achieved a decent insight into a significant number of Asian dishes. That’s why I love reading delicious looking posts like this – so, thanks! It’s really appreciated.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 28, 2012 8:08 pm

      Thanks for visiting! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope you try it out and enjoy it!

  2. trialsinfood permalink
    May 27, 2012 5:14 pm

    Yummy! I make something similar except I also add gochujang.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 28, 2012 8:09 pm

      Ah, that sounds yummy too. I think I’ll have to try that sometime. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. May 27, 2012 6:53 pm

    Sounds simple and delicious! Could this be done with the prewashed baby spinach like for salads?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 28, 2012 8:10 pm

      Hi Greg!

      You can try, but my experience is that prewashed baby spinach get very mushy when you blanch them. Even if it’s really quick. So I don’t usually make this namul dish with baby spinach..

  4. May 29, 2012 11:23 am

    Spinach is one of my favorite dishes, and this is one of my favorite Korean side dishes, so thank you for providing the recipe, Sunnie. ๐Ÿ™‚ Did you see this article by Mark Bittman in the NYT Magazine a few months ago?

    He agrees with you that you should use whole bunches and leave the pink crowns on. I’ve never cooked spinach bunches like that. I read a macrobiotic book recently, and the author said that macrobiotic followers regard that part of plants, where two parts meet (the roots and the stalk), is sort of “golden”–that it has a lot of energy and is very beneficial to your health. I think the pink part of the spinach is akin (though maybe not technically botanically?) to carrot tops, where the carrot burgeons into the green, leafy tops.

    • May 29, 2012 11:23 am

      Oops, I meant to say “spinach is one of my favorite vegetables.”

    • Sunnie permalink*
      June 5, 2012 1:30 pm

      Lu! I don’t know why I didn’t see your comment until now! I must have not gotten a notice in my mailbox or something. Anyway, it is so cool that this Mark person agrees with leaving the pink crowns on. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very cool article. I’ll have to read it in detail. Yes, macrobiotics encourages you to eat the whole plant – very cool that they talk about the parts where roots and the stalk meet are golden! Really interesting, thanks for sharing, Lu!

      • June 6, 2012 11:50 am

        No problem, Sunnie! I’m glad you liked it. Um, that was my word “golden.” I can’t think of the word the actual macrobiotic person used. I read something and a little bit of it sticks, and that’s that. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Mark Bittman is a pretty good proponent of a kind of “veganism for foodies/omnivores.” What he follows is what he calls “vegan before dinnertime,” which is not to say that he thinks you should eat meat for dinner. It’s more like: it’s great to be vegan, but if it seems like too much to you or you don’t want to go full vegan, you should do as much as you can to eat plant-based as much as possible while not bumming yourself out. There’s something to be said for that, I think, and it’s a pretty big step for the main NYT food columnist to be on board with. ๐Ÿ™‚ Whenever he writes a recipe roundup based on a particular vegetable or grain, he almost always includes at least a couple of vegan options, as he did with the spinach article.

  5. Corrin Radd permalink
    June 11, 2012 8:22 pm

    I made this and enjoyed it. I will definitely be making it again sometime to add to my bibimbap.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      June 12, 2012 12:29 am

      Awesome, thanks for letting us know Corrin! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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