Chwinamul Muchim, Aster Scaber Side Dish
Chwinamul muchim is one of the Korean vegetable side dishes Koreans enjoy in spring. It is also used as one of the toppings for Sanchae Bibimbap (bibimbap with mountain vegetables).
Chwinamul (Aster in English) refers to a genus of wild flowering plants in the family Asteracea. There are about 60 speicies in Korea and 24 of them are edible. Cham-Chui (Aster scaber) is the most common species consumed by Koreans. Muchim is a general term for a dish that is tossed (usually mixed by hand) in seasoning.
Chwinamul is also available in a dry format so it can be enjoyed throughout the year. When cooked, chwinamul is smiler to spinach in texture but it has a bittersweet flavor and a pleasantly distinct scent. Koreans often describe the scent as “the aroma of spring.” Chwinamul can also be deep fried, made into kimchi or used as wraps. Koreans love it for its health benefits as well since it’s loaded with nutrients such as protein, vitamin A, B1 & B2, iron, phosphorus and calcium. In asian medicine, it is used to relieve cold symptoms and pain.
Buy chwinamul or chuinamul here.
for blanching chwinamul
|1 oz||Chwinamul (or Chuinamul), Aster Scaber 취나물 (dried, fresh ones are great if available)|
|4 cups||Water 물|
|1 tsp||Salt 소금|
|¼ tsp||Salt 소금 (more or less depending on type and brand)|
|¼ tsp||Soy Sauce for Soup (Gukganjang) 국간장 (optional, add salt instead or replace with regular soy sauce)|
|1 tsp||Sesame Oil 참기름|
|½ tsp||Garlic (minced) 다진 마늘|
|1 tbs||Chopped Green Onion 다진파|
|1 tsp||Sesame Seeds 깨|
Buy chwinamul or chuinamul here.
Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Gukganjang (soy sauce for soup): Gukganjang is ideal. But, you can omit it and add more salt if you can't buy one. You can also use regular soy sauce.
Chwinamul Doenjang Muchim (soybean pasted seasoned aster scaber) You can use doenjang (soybean paste) instead of soy sauce and salt to make this delicious variation. The rest of the ingredients are the same. Don't add too much soybean paste from the beginning. You may want to premix soybean paste with sesame oil and other seasoning ingredients first because soybeans paste can be thick in consistency, making it difficult to mix thoroughly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of salt should I use?The amount of salt may vary depending on the type and the brand of the salt you use. Always taste the food and add salt gradually. Kosher salt or sea salt is always better than table salt (refined) in terms of flavor and nutrition. Remember sea salt has different saltiness than table salt. If you are using coarse salt, make sure it's mixed really well.
How much chwinamul should I cook?
30 g of dried chwinamul yields a handful of blanched chwinamul (after soaking, blanching and squeezing out water). Since it's usually served as a small side dish, it should be enough for 2-3 people. But, if you want to use this as a main dish, increase the amount.
More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comments section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.
1. Soak and wash
Soak dried chwinamul in water for at least 6 hours. It’s ideal to soak overnight. Rinse throughly with cold water. *If you have fresh chwinamul, skip soaking.
Soak in cold water
Wash in cold water
Boil 4 cups of water on high heat. Blanch chwinamul in boiling water with a pinch of salt until soft (15-30 min depending on how long the chwinamul was soaked). *For fresh ones, blanch quickly (1 min) until it’s wilted.
Boil 4 cups water
Let it boil
High Heat 20 min
Rinse thoroughly twice in cold water
4. Remove water
Squeeze out water with your hands. Don’t squeeze too hard though since it can become mushy.
Squeeze water out
Season chwinamul with ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of gukganjang (soy sauce for soup), 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of chopped green onions and 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds. Mix well by hand. *The amount of salt may vary depending on the type or brand of the salt.
Serve on a side dish plate. Enjoy!