So when I moved to Australia, I made a commitment to eat healthier and live a little healthier than I used to. It helps that fast food in Australia is a bit different as there are healthier options conveniently available compared to Manila where vegetables with your burger goes as far as fries. A salad in a fastfood joint is a dream but not here in Australia. Still, eating out is a lot more expensive than cooking in which is ALWAYS much healthier and cheaper by my book.
Anyway, back to veggies. I’m the kind of person who enjoy the little veggie servings that come in a dish. In Japan, they have a wide array of tsukemono (pickles) or okazu (side dishes) that whet my appetite. I realise that in Korean cuisine this is the same. Outside of kimchi there’s one Korean side dish that excites me — namul. I first fell in love with mungbean sprout namul called sukjunamul or moyashi namul in Japanese. After having learned how to make this, I realise that I can literally turn any vegetable I want into a namul. Thus, I was inspired by a post from one of my Korean friends who shared a photo of their dinner which had some kind of mushroom stirfry. I thought, why not? Mushroom namul sounded like a great idea.
- Fresh mushroom (preferably ones used in Asian cuisines such as shimeji, eringi, oyster, or shiitake, enoki), 1 large pack or 400 grams
- chives, 1 bunch
- garlic, 2 cloves
- salt and pepper, to taste
- sesame oil, 3 tbsp or more
- chicken stock powder/seasoning, 1 tsp but this is optional
- Clean your mushrooms and chives and cut them into 2-inch length batons. (if it's shimeji just peel them apart).
- Peel and slice the garlic into discs.
- In a fry pan, heat 1 tbsp. of sesame oil and fry the garlic until soft. Make sure it doesn't brown.
- Afterwards, fry the mushrooms on medium heat until you see it mildly wilting but not to the point that it's watery (by this I mean that the mushroom juices are already seeping out of the 'shrooms and on to the pan, when this happens).
- Toss in the chives and season the mushrooms with the seasonings and the rest of sesame oil.
- Stir for a minute and take it off the heat.
- This recipe works great with eringi, shimeji, and enoki. If you use shiitake, you might cook it differently by letting the moisture out and roasting it a little. This doesn't work well with the previous three whose freshness taste better than it's roasted counterpart.
- Depends on how you love this, use as much as you want!
I don’t think it’s a common namul compared to the moyashi but it has the same seasonings and process which involves mildly ‘cooking’ the vegetables enough to draw their sweetness and freshness. Hence, I cannot say with great confidence that this is an authentic Korean dish. Perhaps, given my story, it’s Korean-inspired? It turned out to be an experiment with great results hence I can’t help but share. I must suggest that use fresh mushrooms and nothing else. I’ve tried it with mushrooms I’ve kept in the fridge for some while and unfortunately it had so much moisture which diluted the flavor of the mushroom and made this namul very watery. Not good eats.
So, when you’ve got some fresh mushrooms, don’t pass up on a chance to try this namul!