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Gosari Namul (Korean Fernbrake Side Dish)

Gosari namul is a traditional Korean side dish made with edible fern known as fernbrake or bracken fiddleheads. It is seasoned with soy sauce and minced garlic among other things and has a meaty texture. It is commonly served in traditional bibimbap!

Korean Side Dish - Gosari Namul (Seasoned Fernbrake) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Today I’m sharing a Korean traditional side dish, Gosari Namul (고사리 나물, Seasoned Fernbrake Side Dish) recipe.

FYI, I shared Doraji Namul (Sautéed bellflower root) recipe last week. These two namul are often served together at an ancestral memorial service table (charyesang) and also in bibimbap

What is Gosari

Gosari / Kosari (고사리) is the young stem of fernbrake (or fiddlehead). It is commonly used to make a side dish or soup / stew (e.g. yukgaejang) in Korean cooking.

You can get dried fernbrake or ready to use fernbrake (e.g. boiled and frozen fernbrake) from a Korean grocery store. Though it is much easier to find dried fernbrake, as frozen ones are not always available. It is also more expensive.

Gosari (Dried fernbrake) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

The above dried gosari package weighs 80 g / 2.8 ounces and I normally hydrate them all in one go even though my recipe below is made with about half of the hydrated gosari.

For the part that I do not use straight away, I simply put them in a plastic bag and freeze them after boiling and cooling it down. You can use the remainder to make more gosari namul later or use it in soup or stew.

What Gosari Tastes like

I don’t know what raw or ready to use gosari tastes like as I’ve only tried it in a finished form such as today’s recipe – Gosari Namul.

Among other things, gosari namul is seasoned with soy sauce, minced garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds. So it has a mildly garlicky and salty taste. Also, you should expect a strong nutty aroma coming from sesame oil and sesame seeds. They quickly overtake the fernbrake, in a good way. It smells and tastes warm and earthy.

Gosari namul is a great vegetable side dish to make. As an indication, it is a very common side dish at a Korean dinner table. (It feels like I had it almost as often as kimchi growing up.)

On a side note, there is some controversy whether it is even safe to eat gosari / fernbrake / fiddleheads or not. This was surprising! I’ve been eating this all my life (30+ years) and only just discovered the potential danger. 😆

Anyway, if you’re interested, you can read about the controversy from here. But, I think the Korean way of preparing and cooking the fernbrake makes it “safer” to eat. (This is not medical or health advice. Seek your professional advisor’s opinion if you’re too concerned.) Enjoy!

How to Make Gosari Namul (Korean fernbrake side dish) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Ingredients for Gosari Namul, serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

Main

  • 190 g / 6.7 ounces hydrated gosari (fernbrake)
  • Some water to boil gosari
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • Some cooking oil (I used rice bran oil)

Seasoning (Mix these in a bowl)

  • 1 Tbsp regular soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml

** If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my essential Korean ingredients list!

How to Make Gosari Namul

1.Place the dried gosari / fernbrake in a large bowl and immerse in water overnight (8 to 12 hours). Drain away the water. Boil some water in a sauce pan (enough to cover the fernbrake) and add the fernbrake in the rolling boiling water then boil for a further 30 minutes. Drain away the water and rinse the gosari well under cold running water.

How to Cook Gosari (Fernbrake) for Korean Cooking | MyKoreanKitchen.com

2. Comb through the fernbrake and cut any hard woody bits from the stem then discard them. (This is a bit of a fiddly and time consuming process but is totally worth it!) Line them up and cut into index finger lengths. Transfer them into a mixing bowl. Add the seasoning sauce and mix them well.

Seasoning gosari (fernbrake)

3. Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Once heated, spread the cooking oil. Add the seasoned fernbrake and stir around for a few minutes. Add the water (3 Tbsp) and simmer it over low heat for a further 3 minutes. Garnish with the sesame seeds. Remove from the heat. Serve. It can be refrigerated in an air tight container for 3 to 4 days.

Stir frying gosarji (fernbrake)

Gosari Namul Recipe (Korean fernbrake side dish) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

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Korean Side Dish - Gosari Namul (Seasoned Fernbrake) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Gosari Namul (Korean Fernbrake Side Dish)

How to Make Korean Gosari Namul
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: gosari namul
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 32.5kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

MAIN

SEASONING (MIX THESE IN A BOWL)

  • 1 Tbsp regular soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp green onion , thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Place the dried gosari / fernbrake in a large bowl and immerse in water overnight (8 to 12 hours). Drain away the water. Boil some water in a sauce pan (enough to cover the fernbrake) and add the fernbrake in rolling boiling water then boil for a further 30 minutes. Drain away the water and rinse the gosari well under cold running water.
  • Comb through the fernbrake and cut any hard woody bits from the stem and discard them. (This is a bit of a fiddly and time consuming process but is totally worth it!) Line them up and cut into index finger lengths. Transfer them into a mixing bowl. Add the seasoning sauce and mix them well.
  • Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Once heated, spread the cooking oil. Add the seasoned fernbrake and stir around for a few minutes. Add the water (3 Tbsp) and simmer it over low heat for a further 3 minutes. Garnish with the sesame seeds. Remove from the heat. Serve. It can be refrigerated in an air tight container for 3 to 4 days.

Notes

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml
**The prep time does not include overnight soaking of dried gosari (fernbrake)

Nutrition Info (per serving)

Calories: 32.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1.035g | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 4mg | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Rate this recipe with a comment below and tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

Written by: Sue

Last Updated:

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Welcome to my Korean kitchen! I’m so happy that you're here. I am Sue, the creator behind My Korean Kitchen (since 2006). I love good food and simplifying recipes. Here you will find my best and family approved recipes. Thanks for stopping by!

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16 thoughts on “Gosari Namul (Korean Fernbrake Side Dish)”

  1. Ignore the previous question. I found the dry weight measurements in your notes. In my excitement, I jumped directly to the recipe!

    Reply
  2. What is the measurement for the dried fern bracken prior to hydrating? Cannot wait to try making this, as it was always a special treat when Omini made it. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Delicious! Out of curiosity, I had picked up a packet of “boiled bracken” in liquid in the Asian grocery down the street and been holding onto it intimidated by my find. I just made your recipe and am enjoying it now. SO delicious and simple!

    Reply
  4. I love this!!! My mom passed away when I was little but I remember picking the fiddleheads and watching her make them. I tried to do what I remembered but I think I am missing a step in the drying process. I am not sure if you are suppose to boil first then dry or just dry them in the sun without boiling them. I am sure there’s a process of it online but just curios. Thanks for posting this!

    Reply
    • I think you boil them first then dry them after.

      Based on my brief research, you should add some salt when you boil. Also, after boiling them, you leave them in the boiled water for about 30 mins then drain. Soak them in cold water for about half day then drain and dry. Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Hi Sue,
        I notice from reading other recipes for preparing fernbrake that you soak it in water first for a long time then and then boil it whereas other recipes boil it first then soak it. I chose your method but am concerned about the results of the different approaches. In your notes you state the opposite. Now I’m really confused since I started with the cold soak overnight.
        Thank you,
        Carol

        Reply
        • Hi Carol, I’m a bit confused about your question. This thread / comment above from Jennifer is about preparing wild fiddleheads for culinary use. In short, how to make dried fernbrake.
          But my recipe is based on using dried fernbrake, which already has gone through that initial boiling-soaking-drying process. Hope this helps.

          Reply
  5. Finally! Fernbrake.; thats the name. Whenever we would ask our parents what the dish was called the response was always “mountain plant root”. It’s delicious; who knew that it was “dangerous”. 😳

    Reply
  6. I camp in Alaska with acres of Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads. Since I stay there for over two months, a way to collect and preserve them would keep me in vegetables for the entire season. I’ve heard of people sun drying and reconstituting them into green fiddleheads. Have you heard of a way to do this? I have mesh herb dryers and May is very sunny with little rain. I never thought of drying or eating the stems. Looks like this will be a new experiment for this season. There must be a combination of drying, salt water, blanching, etc. to keep them as green as possible. Any direction would be appreciated.

    Reply
  7. Sue, thank you so much. Bibimbop is one of my favorite dishes and I make it all the time but did not know the name of the fernbrake. I’m so glad that I will be able to make my bibimbop even more authentic. I’m so glad for all your recipes. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  8. I just love your blog. Thanks for sharing so many wonderfully delicious recipes!! And your explanations and pictures are so useful since I am not always familiar with the ingredients in your recipes. THANK YOU!!

    Reply
  9. My former SIL is Korean & when she came here, as a new bride, she went nuts when she discovered that her house was smack in the middle of a field filled w/fernbreak!! She picked, dried & made this side dish, to my delight. I hunger for this every once & a while. It is so yummy. Thanks for this recipe.

    Reply

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