Godeulbbaegi’s bitterness is tempered when blanched and dressed with doenjang. The bitter flavors actually become almost fragrant on your palate, and add some variety to your daily bapsang (home meal table). You can also dress it with gochujang (고추장, red chili paste), but we chose doenjang to balance out godeulbbaegi’s sharp bitterness.
Read more about godeulbbaegi, including selection and storage tips, here.
2 dan (bunches) godeulbbaegi (becomes 380g, or 3 big handfuls, when blanched)
3 tbsp doenjang (if you have a few varieties of doenjang, choose the sweetest doenjang since this dish is quite bitter)
2 tsp maesil cheong (매실청, korean plum extract, homemade if possible)
2 tbsp daepah (대파, korean jumbo size big scallion), finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil (don’t use too much, it becomes too nutty)
2 tsp roasted sesame powder
The day before:
Wash the godeulbbaegi: You may need to use the tip of a paring knife or a rough sponge to get out all of the dirt. Place the godeulbbaegi in a big container, and fill up with fresh cold water. Weigh it down with a heavy stone (or a heavy pot) to keep the plants submerged. Leave for at least 8 hours, periodically replacing the water (about 2–3 times).
1. Blanch 고들빼기 with good amount of rolling boiling water. It will take about 5 minutes. Godeulbbaegi is quite tough, it was originally a kind of wild weed from the mountains and fields. It stays very fibrous if you don’t blanch it enough. So start by submerging the root for about a minute and then submerge the leaves as well. To check, press the root with your fingers—if it can be smashed with a little pressure, it is ready to come out. Don’t worry about the leaves, they won’t get mushy even if the root gets quite soft.
2. Drain your godeulbbaegi and rinse several times with running cold water. Make round balls to squeeze out excess moisture. After this, you can cut the balls in half or even quarters to make bite-sized pieces for your muchim.
3. Place the godeulbbaegi in a big bowl and add your sauce ingredients to one side of the mixing bowl. Mix your sauce ingredients on the side first.
4. Combine everything with the blanched godeulbbaegi and toss thoroughly.
Serve right away with steaming hot rice as a banchan (side dish). This banchan can be stored for 2–3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Tip: If you have leftover blanched godeulbbaegi, it can be easily frozen and reused anytime. But add little bit more moisture when you freeze them so they don’t get too dry.