A Guide to Kimchi and Namul

A guide to kimchi and namul, or Korean veggies for adventurous eaters:

Pt. 1 Kimchi:

Every New York deli pickle, deep-down, secretly wishes it had ended up as Kimchi. 

Kimchi is a pickled and fermented vegetable dish and an ancient Korean culinary institution.  Cited back as early as 3000 years ago, the term "kimchi" can be used to express any one of the hundreds of variations made with ingredients such as Napa cabbage, radish, green onion and cucumber, seasoned with brine, scallions, ginger, chopped radish, garlic, and fish sauce. Typically served as a side dish, kimchi brings crunch, texture, color, and heat to Korean cuisine.

Originally created out of necessity to store vitamin-rich food through harsh winter months, kimchi is light on calories, but packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. It's even been dubbed one of the “world's five healthiest foods," by Health Magazine due to the fact that it is rich in vitamins, aids digestion, and may even prevent cancer.

At Korilla we'll be dealing out three of our favorite varieties: 

1. Mat kimchi: A simple Napa cabbage Kimchi with green onions, chili pepper, and ginger

2. Oi Sobagi kimchi: A spicy cucumber Kimchi with garlic, ginger, and Korean chili peppers

3. Gakdooki: An extra crunchy radish Kimchi 

Pt. 2 Namul:

Think of namul as the Korean version of a veggie tasting menu -- an epic, wild mountain veggie tasting menu. 

Namul is a term that refers to a wide variety of small vegetable dishes.  Essentially any vegetable, preparation, or seasoning can be used, and namul encompasses them all. Common vegetables include seeds, petals, roots, stems, fruits, leaves, and sprouts. These veggies can be left raw, dried, sautéed, blanched, or steamed and are often seasoned with garlic, salt, vinegar, sesame oil, and Korean red pepper paste. Along with kimchi, assorted namul are usually served along a main course as banchan or side dishes.

We're perfecting our namul to complement all of your Korean BBQ fantasies, here's what you can expect:

1. Kongnamul: Cold boiled soybean sprouts with sesame oil, spring onions, garlic and sesame seeds

2. Sukjunamul: Cold boiled mungbean sprouts with sesame oil, spring onions, garlic and sesame seeds

3. Gosari Namul: Stir-fried bracken fern shoots that have been softened and seasoned

4. Chwinamul: Stir-fried and seasoned aster scaber

5. Doraji Namul: Boiled bellflower roots

6. Osmunda japonica: Stir-fried royal fern