Use this recipe to make minari or seasoned Korean watercress. This peppery Korean vegetable dish is a popular namul (vegetable side) and ingredient in bibimbap, the mixed rice dish that's arguably the most famous Korean dish worldwide. Minari is lively, simply seasoned, but with a lot of flavor like other bitter greens. If you're not yet ready to make Korean entrees, try making this watercress dish first and then work your way up to making Korean staples like bibimbap.
If you're a Westerner, you may be completely unfamiliar with Korean watercress. But the Eastern version is not so different. That's because minari is a water plant just like American or European watercress, but it has a much stronger herbal flavor. It is also sometimes labeled as Chinese celery or Japanese parsley. However, minari should not be confused with mitsuba in grocery stores.
- 1 bunch (about 6 to 8 oz) of watercress (washed and trimmed)
- 1 scallion (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil with 6 cups of water and 2 tsp of salt.
- Blanch the watercress until wilted. (Dunk it in the boiling water for about 30 seconds and then quickly remove it).
- Quickly shock the blanched watercress in ice cold water.
- Drain the watercress and squeeze through to remove excess water.
- Cut watercress into 2 to 3-inch lengths.
- In a mixing bowl, combine watercress with remaining seasoning ingredients.
- Mix well to combine and coat with seasoning.
Interesting Facts About Watercress and Water Dropwort
Watercress belongs to a genus of plants in the family Apiaceae. It tends to grow in damp ground, marshes or water.
Several kinds contain oenanthotoxin, which is poisonous. One poisonous variety, O. crocata, looks like celery and has roots that resemble white carrots. Animals and people have died after exposure. This kind of watercress is particularly dangerous because it looks like a number of edible plants.
Asian watercress belonging to the species O. javanica is widely known as Chinese celery or Japanese parsley and is edible. In fact, many countries in East Asia grow it. It's also grown in South Asia and in Italy.
Watercress has a number of reported health benefits. It's believed to help with sex drive, cure hangovers and even improve mental health conditions. Native Americans used watercress to treat liver and kidney trouble, particularly to dissolve kidney stones. Because watercress contains a significant amount of iron and other minerals, it is often used as a blood purifier. Its iron content is higher than spinachs. It also has more calcium than milk and triple of the amount of Vitamin E as lettuce. Because of its water content, watercress is a low-calorie food, and it also has good portions of vitamins A and C.