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Recipe: Toraji namul (Sautéed bellflower root)

January 09, 2008

Total time: About 1 hour, plus overnight soaking

Servings: Makes 5 cups

Note: Adapted from "A Korean Mother's Cooking Notes" by Chang Sun-Young. This dish can be made up to a week in advance. Kuk kanjang -- labeled "soy sauce for soup" -- and dried bellflower roots are available at Korean markets.

1/2 pound dried white bellflower roots

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon kuk kanjang (soy sauce for soup)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons finely sliced green onion, green parts only

Salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds, crushed in a mortar

1. Place the bellflower roots in a large bowl and pour in enough hot water to cover. Soak overnight to reconstitute; drain. Carefully shred the softened pieces by inserting the end of a paper clip or a needle into one end of the bellflower root and tearing the root into lengthwise strips. They should be about one-eighth-inch thick. Divide the larger pieces into three strips and the smaller pieces in half.

2. Place the shredded bellflower root back into a bowl and, using your hands, mix thoroughly with the teaspoon of coarse salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Soak in a fresh change of water for 10 minutes. Drain, then vigorously squeeze the roots until as much water is rendered as possible.

3. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, soy sauce and sugar. When the mixture is hot and the garlic is fragrant, add the bellflower roots. Sauté for 12 minutes until the roots soften, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from the heat and add the green onions. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the crushed and roasted sesame seeds.

Each one-fourth cup: 39 calories; 1 gram protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 1 gram fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 96 mg. sodium.

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