Maangchi - Doraji muchim (Spicy bellflower root side dish)

Today's recipe is dorajimuchim. Doraji (known as "bellflower," "balloon flower," or platycodon in English) is grown wild in the mountains and fields of Korea. The root of the bellflower looks similar to ginseng root and tastes bitter with strong ginseng-like smell. It's not only used to make delicious side dishes but it's also used in Korean traditional medicine and home remedies.

You can make this dish with either fresh or dried doraji root. If you get fresh doraji, you'll have to peel it and split it lengthwise into bite sized strips. Then soak the strips in salty water for a couple of hours, drain the water, rub them by hand, and rinse in cold water. Repeat this until they aren't so bitter anymore. Taste a small sample of the root to test.

Dried doraji sold in a package is more convenient for making doraji side dishes because all you need to do is to soak the roots in water and rub them with a little salt to remove the bitterness. Then you can make delicious side dishes by mixing them with seasoning sauce, stir-frying, or making pancakes with them.

The most common side dish made with bellflower roots is dorajimuchim, so let's start with this recipe. I'll post more in the future. If you want to add cucumber, slice it and mix with some salt in a small bowl. Then squeeze out the excess water from the cucumber with a cheesecloth and mix with the dried bellflower root and the seasoning sauce.

Enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients: (4 servings)

3 ounces of dried bellflower roots (about 85 grams)
¼ cup hot pepper paste
3 Tablespoons of hot pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
2 Tablespoons of rice syrup or corn syrup
1 Tablespoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
3 Tablespoons of white or apple vinegar
2 stalks of green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
2 teaspoons of sesame oil

Soak dried bellflower roots in cold water overnight (for 8 to 12 hours) until the roots are
Drain and scrub with about 1 Tablespoon of coarse salt to remove the bitterness. Rinse and drain.
Combine the hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, soy sauce, rice syrup, sugar, salt, vinegar, garlic, green onion, and sesame oil in a mixing bowl.
Add the dried bellflower roots to the paste and mix it all together by hand.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer it to a serving plate. Serve with rice, and the leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

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