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Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Recipes, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Recipe: “Clover” Salad 괭이밥 나물 (Seasoned Wood Sorrel)

Recipe: “Clover” Salad 괭이밥 나물 (Seasoned Wood Sorrel)

Foraging has become trendy here in the San Francisco Bay area, with people paying money to take classes to learn how to find local foods such as miner’s lettuce, local seaweeds and mushrooms.

But there’s one very common plant that’s probably taking up a good portion of your front yard that you had no idea is edible and you don’t have to go deep into the woods or pay someone lots of money to help you find it: wood sorrel.

Wood sorrel, which is commonly mistaken for clover, is a perennial that can grow from 6-15 inches tall. It is a North American native but it can be found in Europe and into western Asia as well. Its Latin genus name is Oxalis. The species name is stricta.

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Harvesting a little wood sorrel from my front yard just before supper time. (Jeff Quackenbush photo)

I have a large batch of it growing in my front yard. The leaves are still young and they have a sour, lemon like flavor. It can be included in salads, soups, or dried and used as a seasoning. It can also be made into a sauce (traditionally served with fish) or drank as a iced tea. Wood sorrel is quite high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Koreans on both sides of the 38th parallel have not given up their taste for wild herbs and “weeds.” That’s true even in the South, where the socio-economic fortunes have risen to first-world status since the end of the Korean War.

A number of grandmothers and aunties all over Korea still explore the mountains and gardens in their neighborhoods for wild herbs and “weeds.” That’s just as their ancestors have done for centuries to supplement the family’s food budget and to sell in local markets, where the foraged finds are highly prized since they are “organic.”

Popular Korean cooks and chefs, including Hooni Kim and Maangchi, have no qualms whatsoever about foraging in New York City’s Central Park to find tasty treats.

For this dish, I prepared the wood sorrel raw, drizzling it with a light Korean dressing shortly before serving.

Wood Sorrel  괭이밥 나물 Namul

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Wood Sorrel namul making its debut in the setting sun. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)

Korean Salad Dressing

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon verjus or lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

  1. Mix in a small bowl to combine

Korean Wood Sorrel salad

Serves: 2-4 as 반찬 banchan (side dish) or in 비빔밥 bibimbap (mixed vegetables and other items with red chili sauce over rice)

1/2 cup young wood sorrel leaves
2 tablespoons Korean salad dressing

  1. Rinse the wood sorrel in cold water.
  2. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Place the wood sorrel in a small bowl, drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of Korean dressing and mix until the wood sorrel leaves are coated.
  4. Set aside to add to your bibimbap or serve as part of your banchan setting.

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