Chwinamul (or Chuinamul), Aster Scaber 취나물
Chuinamul (Aster Scaber) is one the most common mountain vegetables in Korea. It has a unique herbal smell and a pleasant bitterness. It is consumed in namul (blanched and seasoned), wraps or deep fried. It is also one of the ingredients for Sanchae Bibimbap (Bibimbap with mountain vegetables). It is made into a powder format or an alcoholic drink and consumed for medicinal purposes. Fresh chuinamul are sold in spring. During other seasons it is sold in a dried format. It is high in vitamin A (10 times more than napa cabbage). If budget is not an issue, Koreans prefer produce from Korea because of the safer and more hygienic farming and drying process there compared to other countries.
Sourcing & Selecting
You can use a similar mountain vegetable, called cham-namul. There is not real Western equivalent of this herb.
How to Measure:
A big handful of dried chuinamul weighs about 30g.
Fresh chuinamul: Place in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Blanched and frozen: You can keep it in the freezer up to 6 months. Dried chuinamul: Store in a cool and dry place. Avoid direct sunlight. If well-kept, it can last for 1-2 years.
Nutrition and Health Facts:
Full of beneficial nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamins B1 & B2, phosphorus, niacin, and iron. High in potassium - removes sodium from the body. High in fibre, low in calories - great for diet. In Asian medicine, it's used to relieve headaches, pain and cold symptoms. Koreans believe it surpresses carcinogens from burned meat so it is often consumed with meat.