August 29, 2011

Sauteed Sesame Leaves - kkennip muchim

Hello, Sunny-side Up Recipes readers!  It seems that the most popular pages on this site tend to be Korean food recipes, so here is another one for you to enjoy.  This is one that I always thought was difficult, but it turns out, it's super easy to make and requires very few ingredients.
Of course, the secret ingredient behind this dish is what Koreans call sesame leaves, or kkennip, a very common green used in banchan or used as a wrap for Korean BBQ.  The sesame leaf is not actually related to what Americans refer to as sesame; apparently, it's called perilla in English.  Anyways, no one in Korea would know what you're talking about if you said you wanted to try perilla, but you would probably get nods of understanding if you ask for sesame leaves.  And that is what I'm gonna call them here.

Sesame leaves are super fragrant, so in that sense, they are more like an herb than a leafy green like lettuce.  In size, full-grown leaves are quite large, usually bigger than your palm.

Okay, let's get to the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (banchan for 4):
-1/4 lb sesame leaves
-2 green onions
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tbsp sesame oil
-soy sauce to taste, approximately 3-4 tbsp

First, bring a large pot of water to boil.  I used my Le Cruset because I am in love with it and try to use it as often as possible :)

Just like when you wilt any large leafy green like kale, it may not look like it'll all fit into the pot, but once they start to cook in the water, they'll lose their stubbornness.  Let them boil for 3-4 minutes or so, stirring every once in a while to make sure all the leaves get fully submerged.

Now, drain the leaves in a colander, then rinse them in cold water until you can handle the leaves.  Once they're cool enough, kinda squeeze out the water with your hands until you can form a ball, like this.

Notice how I haven't wrung it out completely.  It's okay to have some moisture in don't want to totally dry them out.

Go ahead and chop up some green onions.  I chopped two stalks.  Stalks?  What unit of measure should you use with green onions?

Here is my wonderful sesame oil, the life of most Korean dishes.  This is not made from the same sesame plant as the leaves in this recipe; this oil is made from what most Americans call sesame.  Confused yet?  Excellent.

So, put the leaves in a bowl and add all your ingredients together.  Add soy sauce a little at a time.  You're basically using this as your "salt", so this is really to your taste.  I added about 3 tbsps, but you might like things saltier or not as salty as me, so go in small stages and taste in between. 

Mix the ingredients together (use your hands, they work the best), then heat up a pan with a little vegetable oil in it.  Once the oil is hot, add the sesame leaf mixture to the pan.

Saute it for a few minutes until more of the moisture has been zapped out, and the flavor of the garlic and green onions have kinda seeped into the rest of the dish.  That's really what this stage is all about.  Once you're done, it looks like this.

It's a lovely way to get a LOT of veggies into your tummy.  Remember how much we started with?  Now it all fits into a small bowl, and in one mouthful, you could be eating 5 leaves.

I hope you'll try this recipe.  It's really as easy as it looks on here, and it's a nice way to introduce yourself to kkennip, the wonder plant!  For any Koreans out there, I hope this will help you cook like your umma :)  Make some for her the next time you see her.

Love and peace, have a wonderful day, you lovely readers :)

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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1 comment:

  1. Ahh! Thanks for this demystifying post, Sunny! I've seen sesame leaves in the grocery store before, but never knew what they were or what to do with them; and now I realize that I just tried them for the first time a few weeks ago! Next time I see them in the market, I'll have to pick them up and try this recipe. Yay!


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