Korea is made of lush forests covering mountainous terrain, making it home to a variety of root vegetables. These root vegetables play an important part of Korean cuisine and are usually used in side dishes. The two most popular roots in Korean cooking are Gosari (bracken fern shoot) and Doraji (Korean bellflower root). They’re not easily distinguishable at the local markets, so here are a few tips which will getting to know Korean root vegetables a little easier.
Besides being used in preparations of side dishes, Gosari is also used in a stews or soups. Cook it with some sesame oil to counter the earthy taste of gosari with a nutty flavour. A tip to bear in mind while planning a meal – although this root is used in a side dish, it is quite filling and substantial, so, remember to pair it with a light main course.
Gosari is called the “beef of the mountains” because it is high in protein content. It is usually sold dry, so remember to soak it in water and blanch it before cooking. Gosari is also often used as a herb in vegetable salads.
Doraji is a root that is sold either fresh or dried and is good to use in salads. It has a slightly bitter taste, so soaking it for a few hours (for the fresh one) or overnight (for the dried one) is recommended.
Doraji is believed by many locals to have significant medicinal properties and is used in the treatment of coughs and colds. It is also an excellent ingredient in spicy salads.
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