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Toraji Namul (Bellflower Root)
(recipe, Kelly Myers)
Toraji, or bellflower root, has traditionally been considered an essential ingredient in bibimbap, the Korean rice dish. It is also considered to be an important herbal root with multiple health benefits. Toraji is white and crunchy with a mild flavor somewhat like celery. It is harvested in the mountains and can be found fresh in Korea; in the United States, toraji is sold dried. When seasoned it is called a namul, and can also be served as a panchan, or side dish.
- 2 oz. dried bellflower root
- 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 to 3 tsp. dark sesame oil
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
- Put toraji in a large bowl and pour over hot water to cover by two inches. Let soak overnight. Do not refrigerate.
- Drain toraji and rinse under cold water. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add toraji and boil for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander.
- Leave toraji in the colander and toss with salt to remove bitterness. Let drain for 2 hours, then rinse thoroughly.
- Roll up toraji in a clean kitchen towel to dry. Put a skillet over medium heat. Add sesame oil, garlic, and green onion, and sauté briefly. Add toraji and cook and stir for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant and hot.
Look for dried bellflower root at Korean or pan-Asian grocery stores.
Read more about making bibimbap in Kelly Myers' "Bowled over."