Traditionally, Korean meals have a large variety of dishes. Normally I’m partial to one-dish meals because of their ease and clean-up. Thankfully, many of these namools, or seasoned vegetable side dishes, come together in a flash, use the exact same flavorings, making it possible to reuse the pans.
I experimented with a couple different vegetables, like shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and green peppers, but the possibilities are endless. I think this would also work really well with cubes of roasted eggplant or even spinach or bok choy.
Shiitake Mushroom Namool
* 1-1/2 cups dried, sliced shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes
* 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* pinch of salt
* 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons sesame oil
* 1 green onion, thinly sliced
Drain the soaking liquid from the shiitake mushrooms and gently squeeze out the water from the mushrooms. Combine mushrooms with the sesame seeds, minced garlic and a pinch of salt and mix together.
Coat a large skillet with the vegetable oil and heat over high heat. Add the seasoned mushrooms to the pan and stir fry for a minute or two, until the mushrooms begin to soften slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and green onion.
Serves two to four, depending on number of sides.
Green pepper variation: substitute one green pepper, washed, seeded and cut into thin strips in place of the shiitake mushrooms. No soaking required. Follow other directions in the same manner.
Enoki Mushroom variation: substitute two packages, approximately 4 ounces each, of enoki mushrooms, rinsed and stems removed. No soaking required. Follow other directions in the same manner.
Adapted from The Complete Book of Korean Cooking