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Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root)

Doraji namul is a traditional Korean side dish that is made with bellflower root. It has a simple taste but it is followed by a slightly bitter after taste. It is commonly served in a traditional bibimbap! 

How to Make Doraji Namul (Korean Bellflower Root Side Dish) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Today I’m sharing a classic Korean side dish – Doraji Namul (도라지 나물, Sautéed Bellflower Root) recipe.

A common English name for Doraji (도라지) is Korean bellflower root, balloon flower root or platycodon (in Latin terminology). The root somewhat resembles Korean ginseng, but obviously it’s way cheaper!

Doraji is a purple flowering plant often seen in mountains in East Asia – China, Korea and Japan. But in Korea, the root is used for making delicious banchan (side dishes) and also in herbal medicine.

Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Though, I have to admit. Doraji namul is not as glamorous as some other popular Korean dishes, but nonetheless it is a culturally important Korean side dish.

It is often served at an ancestral memorial service table (charyesang) as one of three colored sautéed vegetables (samsaek namul, 삼색 나물) in Korea. Obviously as you can see from the image above that doraji namul (sautéed bellflower root) represents white color.

The other two colors are often presented with sigeumchi namul (Korean spinach salad – green color) and gosari namul (Korean fernbrake side dish – brown / black color).

As we don’t practice this ceremony at our home, I don’t know all the rules and requirements for preparing this special ceremony table. But I know that if you are making any of these vegetables for the memorial service, you should not add spices (e.g. green onion, garlic, chili flakes or black peppers) because many Koreans (who practice these types of rituals) believe that these types of spices can turn their ancestor’s sprit away.

Nonetheless, many Koreans still make doraji namul a lot at home regardless of the ritual.

For one thing, doraji namul is often served in traditional bibimbap! It gives a nice contrasting color and super crunchy texture. Even my little girl loves chewing these bits, despite the slight bitter taste.

Dried Doraji (Bellflower Root, Balloon Flower Root)

For cooking, you can either use fresh or dried doraji. I’ve only cooked with dried doraji. (Fresh ones are not available in my local area.) Also, the general consensus of Korean home cooks is that it is much easier and faster to cook with the dried doraji.

You can find dried doraji from a Korean grocery store. Amazon sometimes carries it, but it seems out of stock right now.

The above dried doraji package weighs 100 g / 3.5 ounces and I normally hydrate them all in one go even though my recipe below is made with half of the hydrated doraji.

For the part that I do not use straight away, I simply put them in a plastic bag and freeze them after rinsing with coarse sea salt. With the remaining half, I often make doraji muchim (도라지 무침), which is spicy seasoned bellflower root.

Because I still have kid like taste buds, I actually prefer that spicy doraji side dish more than doraji namul. 🙂 I will share that recipe some other time.

Anyway, I hope you try doraji namul soon!

Ingredients for Doraji Namul, serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

Main

  • 170 g / 6 ounces hydrated doraji (bellflower root)
  • 2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp green onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil (I used rice bran oil)
  • Some water to boil

Seasoning sauce (Mix these in a bowl)

  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml

How to Make Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root)

1. Place the dried doraji / bellflower root in a large bowl and immerse in water overnight (8 to 12 hours). Drain the water. Add the coarse sea salt and wash the bellflower root a few times with running water. This is to remove the bitter taste of the bellflower root. Boil some water in a sauce pan (enough to cover the root) and blanch the bellflower root in rolling boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain the water and rinse under cold running water.
How to Prepare Dried Doraji for Cooking

2. Place the blanched bellflower root in a mixing bowl then add the seasoning sauce. Mix them well with your hands.

Seasoning Bellflower Root

3. Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Once heated, spread the cooking oil. Add the seasoned bellflower root and stir around quickly. Add the green onion and sesame seeds. Remove from the heat. Serve.

Doraji Namul (Korean bellflower root side dish)

Korean Side Dish - Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root) | MyKoreanKitchen.com


Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root)

How to make Korean side dish - Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root)
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: bellflower root, doraji
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 86kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

MAIN

  • 170 g hydrated doraji (6 ounces), (bellflower root)
  • 2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp green onion , chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil (I used rice bran oil)
  • Some water to boil

SEASONING SAUCE (MIX THESE IN A BOWL)

  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Instructions

  • Place the dried doraji / bellflower root in a large bowl and immerse in water overnight (8 to 12 hours). Drain the water. Add the coarse sea salt and wash the bellflower root a few times with running water. This is to remove the bitter taste of the bellflower root. Boil some water in a sauce pan (enough to cover the root) and blanch the bellflower root in rolling boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain the water and rinse under cold running water.
  • Place the blanched bellflower root in a mixing bowl then add the seasoning sauce. Mix them well with your hands.
  • Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Once heated, spread the cooking oil. Add the seasoned bellflower root and stir around quickly. Add the green onion and sesame seeds. Remove from the heat. Serve.

Notes

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml
**The prep time does not include overnight soaking of dried doraji (bellflower root)

Nutrition

Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 601mg | Sugar: 3g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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7 thoughts on “Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Root)”

  1. I love this dish. Actually, it was one of the first dishes I learned and it was about forty years ago. I love it. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Kim Chul Soo

  2. As always a great presentation Sue. You always put so much thought and preparation into your recipes. Even the simple ones.

    After you mentioned this dish is a little bitter I researched the benefits of bitter food. Turns out bitter food cleans the liver and balances the craving for sweet food. So this Bellflower root is perfect for Type 2 diabetes. It goes to show how these traditional foods evolved to keep us healthy.

    • Thanks. I don’t know about the effect on diabetes but many Koreans drink bellflower root tea when they have cold. It’s a well known cough remedy in Korea. 🙂

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