Goguma julgi (고구마 줄기), or sweet potato stems, is a very common summer vegetable side dish in Korea.
We eat goguma julgi in kimchi, in soup, sautéed and in many other ways. It can be purchased either as the raw, fresh stems or as the peeled, pre-blanched stems in a plastic bag in water. If you buy the fresh stems, I have to warn you that it’s pretty annoying to peel the outer skin. I decided to be a little lazy and got the second version. 🙂 True, diligence brings out better flavors when cooking, but… it’s seriously a pain to peel those stems.
When you buy them in the bag, they don’t look very much like sweet potato stems. But trust me on this one, these softly crunchy green stems are tastier and nicer than you can imagine.
Here is a classic bokkeum (sauté) recipe, to be served as a side dish with rice.
1 bag blanched sweet potato stems, blanched (315g)*
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp Joseon ganjang
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp wild perilla seed, hulled and powdered**
1 tbsp deul-gireum
2 tbsp vegetable oil
*If you purchase fresh stems, peel off the outer skin before blanching. Your fingertips will get stained.
**There are two kinds of wild perilla seed powder, hulled and un-hulled. I prefer the hulled powder because it’s softer and creamier.
1. Sauté garlic with vegetable oil.
2. Meanwhile, cut the stems into bite-sized pieces.
3. Add the chopped stems to the pan.
4. Add Joseon ganjang, water and perilla seed powder. Simmer about 5 minutes, or until it gets lightly crispy (사각사각하다).
5. Finish with perilla oil. Stir thoroughly, and place in a small dish to serve.