If you’ve eaten at a Korean restaurant, chances are one of the side dishes (banchan) you had was seasoned blanched spinach, known as Sigeumchi Namul.
By limiting the boiling time to about 30 seconds (slightly longer for thicker spinach varieties) and transferring immediately to ice water, a firm yet pliable spinach is made, perfect for bibimbap, gimbap, and as a tasty side for Korean BBQ.
You will need:
- Large pot
- Large mixing bowl of ice water
- Knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Optional: garlic press
- 8 ounces spinach, cleaned and washed
- 1 garlic clove, minced (or 2 if small)
- 1 green onion, thin sliced
- 1½ teaspoon korean soy sauce
- 1½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- silgochu (Korean dried shredded red pepper), optional
- Boil 8 cups of water in a large pot.
- Blanch the spinach for 30 seconds (to 1 minute for thick spinach varieties) with lid off, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Strain the spinach in colander and promptly immerse in the ice water. Vigorously shake and move around the spinach to loosen any residual dirt. Return to colander.
- Squeeze out excess water thoroughly by hand. Roll into ball and cut all the way through in an x pattern. (You may keep it uncut for gimbap.)
- Evenly mix the spinach with garlic, green onion, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl by hand.
- Transfer to a bowl or plate and garnish / top off with silgochu (or use around 1/2 tsp gochugaru as an alternative if you can’t find silgochu).