With a friendly tip from one of the local ajummas working at a restaurant that I frequent, I was able to make one of my favorite banchan (side dish) varieties: Maneul Jjong Bokkeum (Stir-Fried Garlic Scapes). These crunchy, slightly fibrous stems remind me of mini-asparagus except that they pack a lot of garlicky punch. I enjoy eating them like other regular banchan or add them to plain white rice as a topping for bibimbap (which is really good, btw), but you can easily eat them any way you want (i.e. anju). There are two basic ways to prepare these garlic scapes – pickled (jangachi) and stir-fried (bokkeum) – but I enjoy the latter because it keeps the scapes crunchier and it’s less time consuming than pickling (although it keeps less than the pickled version). Last but not least, they’re very inexpensive to make. This 1kg batch cost roughly 3,000 won (bought from the traditional market) and lasted us a few weeks. For those who are looking for something healthy, delicious, and quick, this might be the recipe you’re looking for. 🙂
“The one reason why I got into cooking was because I wasn’t good at anything else – not that I was good at it, but it was considered honest work.” ~ David Chang
- 1 bunch garlic scapes (approx. 30 stems)
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- olive oil
- gochugaru (red pepper flakes; optional)
- dried shrimp (optional)
- sesame seeds (optional)
- Wash scapes thoroughly under cold water, shake off excess moisture, then cut into 2-inch pieces.
- Add soy sauce, sugar, corn syrup,and sesame oil until mixed through. Sample and adjust according to preference.
- In a non-stick pan, heat a generous amount of oil on medium heat.
- Add scapes and stir frequently until scapes start to brown.
- Add the soy sauce mixture and cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently to ensure nothing burns. Add dried shrimp if available.
- Sample the scapes to ensure they're cooked through - they should be crisp but not hard.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve as banchan.