Korean Spinach, the rustic version


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: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4 as a side dish

Korean Spinach, the rustic version


  • 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.

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  1. 1


    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!

  2. 5


    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!

  3. 6


    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!

  4. 8

    beyondkimchee says

    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.

  5. 9

    beyondkimchee says

    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.

  6. 13


    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!

  7. 17

    beyondkimchee says

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

  8. 18

    beyondkimchee says

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

  9. 19

    beyondkimchee says

     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.

  10. 22

    Vegekossj6 says

    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.

  11. 32

    Ss says

    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.

    • 33

      Holly says

      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.

  12. 34

    Ashra Rusmin says

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


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