Korean radish (white radish) is a very versatile root vegetable in Korea. It is an essential ingredient in soups, stews, side dishes, kimchi, bibimbap and also for making a base broth for various dishes. You can cook it or eat it raw. Korean radish is very firm and has sweet and spicy taste. When it’s cooked it becomes sweeter and softer. That’s why “Mu Namul (Stir-fried radish side dish)” is so tasty. “Mu namul” is also an essential side dish for traditional ceremonies and festivals.
Korean ancestral rites table. “namuls including mu namul” are on the top left corner
When I make mu namul, I usually add perilla seed powder and perilla oil, which are very flavorful and full of omega-3 fatty acids! The taste of cooked radish goes very well with perilla oil and powder.
The greens of Korean radishes are called “mucheong (무청)” and are also used as a vegetable in various dishes. We make “mucheong kimchi” with fresh greens, or make “siraegi soup” with dried greens. When you julienne the radish and sun-dry them, you can make “mu-mallaengi”. This dried radish is very sweet and chewy that is made to ‘mu-mallaengi muchim’.
These all have different texture, and different tastes. They’re also excellent source of antioxidants, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber.
How to make Mu Namul
*Ingredients of “Mu Namul”
Korea radish (1.5 lb), perilla oil(2T), perialla powder(2T), salt(1t)
1.Peel the radish skin with a potato knife. Though the peel is nutritious, I’d like to remove it worried that there is any soil left on the peel.
2. First cut the large radish vertically, then slice them into half moon shapes. If it is too thin, it will become mushy when cooked. If it is too thick, it will be hard to chew. Please, julienne them into proper thickness.
3.Heat the skillet over medium heat. When the pan is ready, add in the julienned radish. Sprinkle half teaspoon of salt, and stir them well.
4.When the radish becomes translucent, pour 1/3 cup of water and stir more. I used water for vegans, but you can use anchovy broth or kelp broth to make it more tasty. Lower the heat, and cover the pan. Cook for 3 more minutes.
5.Uncover, and taste one! Make sure it is your favorite texture. Add the perilla powder and sesame oil and mix well. Perilla oil has lots of omega-3 fatty acids. Continue to simmer for a few more minutes until half of the liquid evaporates. Remove the heat.
6.Transfer “mu namul” to a plate, and sprinkle sesame seeds.