Upon opening last week’s WWOOF CSA box and seeing the saebal namul, I admit I was stumped. It was only until my husband recalled trying cold, spicy side dishes of the thin, string-like greens at teacher dinners, that I too remembered I had actually eaten the vegetable. Without a high tolerance for spicy foods, I turned to a new favorite in my house – abalone sauce. This recipe will make a side dish for two or a simple meal for one, served atop brown rice.
1 cup saebal namul
10 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon abalone sauce
1 teaspoon white or black sesame seeds
2-3 small green onions, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and stir for a moment. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and continue stir-frying the mushrooms. Continue cooking (adding a bit more water if necessary), until they are tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the abalone sauce and stir until the mushrooms are just coated.
Add the saebal namul and onions to the pan and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Serve immediately, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.