Korean Spinach, the rustic version

by Beyond Kimchee on February 22, 2012 · 37 comments


Korean Spinach

Korean spinach (shigumchi namool) is one of the most popular side dish (banchan) in Korean restaurants.
Generally they are seasoned in salt and sesame oil, and most people think that is the one and only way of making Korean spinach. But there are more…

I have posted my version of Korean spinach before and today I would like to add one more.
This one is more of southern style rustic version and brings different flavor to the ordinary Korean spinach. This is how my mother use to make and it is delicious.

Don’t worry, I won’t put shrimp powder this time.
This is a total vegan dish and as healthy as it can be.
I sometimes empty out a bowl of rice with just this spinach alone without anything else for my lunch.
It is a satisfying and feel good food.

For this recipe, look for spinach that are shorter in length and has a pinkish color on the root.
They are tenderer and sweeter, close to the Korean origin. 


Here is how to: 

I cut off the tips, then I heard someone whispering me with a still small voice…

“May I have some snacks, please…?”

Feed to hamsters if you have. They love it.

FYI, I do NOT like hamsters.

Unless your spinach is grown organic, you want to clean them well..,  really really well.
Use baking soda. Soak with 1 tbsp of soda for 5 minutes and rinse well.

Blanch in the boiling water for 1 minute.

Rinse under cold water.

Squeeze out water.

Untangle your spinach in a mixing bowl.
If your spinach is too long, cut into desirable size so that you don’t get choked.

Here is the flavor crew.

Add doenjang,

and gochujang,

garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds on top of your truly lovely spinach…

Using your finger tips, smear those two pastes together to bind.

If you have long fingernails or just got your nails done in the nail shop, you better get one of those disposable glove.
I know it is not the most environment friendly thing…

Time for the Korean tossing magic. Toss your spinach as you gently massage them together so the seasoning can incorporate with spinach, every single strand.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like. You can add more pastes as you wish…

Finished! Quite easy, wasn’t it?
All you need is a bowl of rice to enjoy this flavorful side dish. Yum!

Mr. Popeye,
Where are you?
Your spinach is ready!
Korean Spinach Side Dish


Korean Spinach, the rustic version
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 teaspoon Korean soybean paste (doenjang)
  • 2 teaspoon Korean chili paste (gochujang)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  1. Cut off the tips of spinach and clean thoroughly.
  2. Boil a pot of water and blanch the spinach for 1 minute.
  3. Rinse under cold water and squeeze out making a ball shape to remove some water.
  4. Untangle the spinach in a mixing bowl (cut into a few section if you prefer shorter length)
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl, using your finger tips smear the doenjang and gochujang pastes together to combine and then toss everything together as you gently massage around the spinach, so that every strand of spinach will get seasoned.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as you like.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3-4 as a side dish

Get Free Email Updates!

Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content.

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe:  

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica Sommermann February 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm

what a great tip for cleaning the spinach!  i'm excited to try it out soon.  i saw some of this smaller variety of spinach at the farmers market last weekend–i will definitely have to go and get a few bunches!  :)  thanks for sharing this recipe, yum!


lily hye soo February 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm

oh this looks so yummy. 


Tammy Quackenbush February 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I've never made spicy spinach namul before. I will try this sometime. :)


wildbutterfly26 February 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm

i love everything korean! and i love your blog. great tip on cleaning the veggies with baking soda. thanks.


Yi @ Yireservation February 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I've always enjoyed banchan when I visit a Korean restaurant. Sometimes I even like the banchan more than the main course I get. Your spinach side dish looks absolutely delicious!
What's the difference between and doenjang and gochujang? I always get a big box of gochujang and use it for all the Korean dishes that call for the bean paste. Thanks for sharing!


Rowena February 23, 2012 at 12:51 am

Awww…the hamsters are so cute!  My son had mice so I had to get used to them.  I've only known about the vinegar-in-water tip for cleaning vegetables so this tip is good to know as well.  Will need to definitely restock on both of those korean pastes…I go through them fairly quick but never have time to go into Milan to buy more.  Oh, and congrats on being chosen for Blogs of Note!


Sook February 23, 2012 at 1:09 am

What a great recipe! So glad I found your site. I am Korean and LOVE Korean food. :)


beyondkimchee February 23, 2012 at 2:59 am

Ha ha! I, too, sometimes like the banchan more than the main dish. Doenjang is made of fermented soy bean and it is quite pungent. Gochujang is Korean red chili powder mixed in rice flour. Can't alternate each other in the recipe since they are completely different.


beyondkimchee February 23, 2012 at 3:00 am

Thank you Rowena. Mice sounds worse than hamsters. I am not a big fan of rodents.
Hope you can give this spinach a try. It is different than ordinary Korean spinach and it tastes good with rice.


LucyL February 23, 2012 at 4:05 am

Oh this sounds so tasty and something like 10-15 mins to make?! That's a yes for a weekday meal :)


Starfall February 23, 2012 at 4:21 am

wow.. thanks for sharing this ingredients, i taste it before back in japan.


beyondkimchee February 23, 2012 at 4:52 am

Yes, It only takes a few minutes to whip this up. Hole you like it, Lucy.


Gria Loka February 23, 2012 at 7:40 am

That's really cute of you to include cute hamster in your blog. Speaking of korean spinach, I went to a korean restaurant, couple weeks ago for dinner. I ordered Galbi and sticky rice. Anyways…what I really love of this restaurant is that we got a bunch of appetizers and one of them is the kind of spinach similar to yours. I may start learning how to make korean food. Super appetizing!


George Lim February 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

Was just missing those nice dishes I had in Seoul. This is great, will make one myself soon. Cheers! :)


Alison Lewis February 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

this look so good!


Serena February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

This looks delicious! I love spinach!


beyondkimchee February 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

 Thanks Erica. Vegetables from farmers markets are the best. The short spinach is far better than the longer one. Hope they still have some.


beyondkimchee February 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

 Thank you. Cleaning vegetables and fruits with baking soda is great way to get rid of pesticides on the surface.


beyondkimchee February 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

 Thank you Gria. Korean side dishes are really appetizing and most of them are quite healthy. Hope you can start making Korean food at home.


Hyosun Ro February 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I like doenjang in my namul dishes as well. Your spinach looks so fresh, and the dish looks delicious! 


Dixiedevil69 February 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I love your step by step pics and again another yummy recipe!


Vegekossj6 February 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm

can we request food?I started a blog in december the link is http://www.letswatcheverything.com. It is pretty much based on entertainment. I have all the latest movies that are out in theatres, tv shows, awards, video games, music and software. I have noticed that my traffic as incereased a little bit but not as much as i want it too. I been reading around and people have been saying the best way to get more traffic is to post on other blogs which will help any person out. Your article is very good. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.


Robert TribaLink February 24, 2012 at 12:18 am

what if I have a cat ? Can my cat have your mice ?


Keith E Gerber February 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I cannot wait to try it, you make cooking look so simple.


Angela Bell February 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I love spinach great  post


Shuhan February 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

ooh I love this! I think I actually prefer this rustic version, it sound spacked with flavour and hearty goodness!


jerey lin February 25, 2012 at 1:13 am

 I love your step by step pics and again another yummy recipe!


Lukas February 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Really like this blog! And I also love the way you take photos of your food! :)

- the Lukas


Kitchentemptations February 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm

That is one perfect looking garlic bulb!


LucyL February 27, 2012 at 3:06 am

Thanks Holly, do you think i can use this recipe for cucumber instead? Haven't seen this type of spinach!


Sook July 17, 2012 at 7:46 am

mmmm I love spinach! This looks like a great recipe! Will be making it soon!


Ss February 27, 2014 at 10:18 am

Hi, I would like to know, I saw that Korean always hv plenty of side dishes in every meal time. Some are prepared before and kept in refrigerator. Could u please tell me what are those side dishes that can be kept for long time in refrigerator? Does spinach one of them? What I knew that spinach hv to be eaten when it’s fresh. Thanks in advance.


Holly February 27, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Spinach can last in the fridge for a week. Any Korean side dish made with fresh vegetables can last about a week in the fridge. Some made with dried or preserved can last whole lot longer.


Ashra Rusmin June 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Hi,, nice to find ur recipe!! I’m Indonesian and I can not find the chili paste here. Any idea?


{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: