Myeongaju-muchim, also known as Myeongajunamul, is a Korean side dish using lamb’s quarters or as they call it, myeongaju. Despite it being named so, the seasonings used for this dish actually go really well with other green leafy vegetables like spinach, bok choy, and Chinese broccoli. This makes it perfect to incorporate edible wild weeds into the dish.
Lamb’s quarters is an edible wild weed that is often used to substitute spinach as it is very similar, but far more nutritional. They can be found in fields and along roadsides and the best time to harvest them is in spring.
This recipe is served as a side dish as lamb’s quarters can be toxic in high doses. In small amounts, the vegetable is very nutritious and contains Vitamins K, A, and C, potassium, magnesium, as well as many amino acids.
You can substitute or omit some ingredients if unavailable to you. Doenjang is a traditional soybean paste in Korea that is a key ingredient in most of their dishes, but you can just use soy sauce instead.
Make sure to use young and tender lamb’s quarter leaves which you can cut from the top of the plant. If you manage to harvest some in spring, the stems can still be tender enough to include too.
- 10 ounces lamb’s quarters
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. doenjang (soybean paste)
- 1 tbsp. gochujang (hot pepper paste)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- Wooden spoon
- Plastic gloves (optional)
- Wash the lamb’s quarter leaves and remove any foreign matter.
- Boil some water in a pot, add salt, and blanch the leaves for 1 to 2 minutes until they are tender.
- Strain and rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking. Otherwise, they will become mushy.
- Squeeze out the excess water and transfer them to a bowl. Add soybean paste, hot pepper paste, garlic, green onion, and sesame oil. Mix everything by hand until all the leaves are well-coated.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds, which are good for removing the bitter taste of wild vegetables, and serve.
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