Shiitake and Saebal Namul (세발나물) Side

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.




About continuethislabor

Hi I'm Tera. I'm interested in how flavors work together and how we can work together to be responsible Earth citizens. Currently I teach English in S. Korea with my husband, but someday we will own a small organic farm. There, we will grow vegetables, raise chickens and goats, and play Catan in our little cottage while drinking good coffee.


  1. This looks delicious! I’ve never cooked with abalone sauce, but it looks like it’s about time to start! 😀

    My husband and I seem to have similar life desires as you wrote in your bio… chickens, goats, homegrown goodies, really long (but fun) board games, and of course traveling. So cool to find a like-minded couple!

  2. Jin Sean

    Hi. What is 세발나물 in English or scientific name? I’d like to find out where I can buy it outside of Korea.

  3. Hi Jin Sean, I’ve never seen saebal outside of Korea, and I cannot find a name for it (other than the transliteration). I’d recommend checking to see if your local Korean market carries it. I believe some have had luck there. Best wishes!

  4. SueP

    I know this is an old post, but I’m pretty sure 세발나물 is Salsola komorovii, often called “saltwort” in English (a few plants, some related, some not, are called “saltwort”, however–this is one of them), and oka-hijiki (“land seaweed”) in Japanese. It seems to be used a lot in Japanese cuisine and is native and common to both Korea and Japan. It’s not readily available at markets, but seed is available for it at various places around the Internet. It is very easy to grow and does well in pots. Agretto/agretti, an Italian green, is Salsola soda, a related species, often called “glasswort” in English, and it may be available seasonally at gourmet markets, but seeds for that are also available from places that specialize in Italian seeds. Seeds for both plants have very brief viability (just a few months for agretti, maybe a bit longer for okahijiki/세발나물), so if you grow them, obtain seeds from a place that tells you when they were harvested and gives you a germination guarantee.

    To make things confusing, species in genus Salicornia are also called “glasswort” and/or “saltwort” and are often eaten. In England, they call it “samphire”. I’ve seen 세발나물 identified as a Salicornia elsewhere on the Internet, but 1) it looks much more like Salsola komorovii and 2) Salicornia are not native to northeast Asia but are more southeast Asian.

    Sorry for the rather long answer, but it took me ages to figure out this information, so I’m hoping this helps out someone else.

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