Monday Market. Aralia Elata – 두룹
It took me a bit of work to track down the details of this tasty mountain green which is currently in season. Durup (두룹 나무) is a deciduous tree which is rather attractive but for commercial purposes cultivation is ‘under-glass’ using small branches. The stems are thorny and the fresh young shoots, the edible part, appear in street markets and supermarkets between March and May. If you buy them from the old ladies on the street they cost about 10.000Won for a large bag of probably in the region of a hundred shoots. I noticed that in E-Marte about 6 shoots cost around 2000Won.
There are a number of ways to use durup but it is especially tasty, washed and dropped into boiling water and cooked in the same way you would broccoli. A short vigorous boil means the stems are slightly crunchy. I made a dip of a little mayonnaise, red pepper paste (고추장), and corn syrup (물엿). However, they are also used in soups, in pancakes and battered and deep fried.
I don’t want to overrate this too much, I mean, how delicious is broccoli or cabbage unless swimming in butter? But honestly, this was as equally ‘tasty’ as broccoli with a somewhat nutty, asparagus-like taste. With a small bowl of dip I ate a large bowl for breakfast and then went back to the kitchen to eat what was left. Definitely worth trying! (more durup info here)