Elwood 5566

Monday Market – A Mixed Bag of Seasonal Interests

Posted in Monday Market (Theme) by 노강호 on April 7, 2011

For the last month I’ve been waiting for the appearance of mistletoe and durup in the street markets. Durup (두룹), aralia elatia can sometimes be found in places like E-Mart but it is usually on the expensive side if out of season. Mistletoe (겨우사리), viscum album coloratum, is something I’ve never seen in supermarkets, not even in tea bag form and many Koreans don’t even know what it is.

fresh mistletoe – 10.000 won (five pounds UK) which I’m told is a little expensive.

I’ve had a bag of mistletoe (dried branches and leaves) in my fridge for the last year and used it regularly during the summer when made as a tea, and chilled, it is wonderfully refreshing. Last year’s bag I purchased in May and it was already dried. Yesterday however, I saw the first bags of mistletoe and they were fresh so this morning I boiled the last of my old batch and will try the new ones in a few days. After which I will simply lay them on newspaper on my veranda and dry them out for the forth coming year.

Warning – there are many varieties of mistletoe and I’ve read the berries, possibly in European varieties if not further afield, are poisonous.  Apparently, ewes abort their young if they graze on fallen mistletoe! If you are a reader outside Korea I would be very cautious about making tea out of the next batch you see.

durup (두룹) aralia elatia

Durup, for which I can find no common English name, costs between 3000-5000W (£1.50 – £2.50) a bowl and is surprisingly tasty with a mildly nutty taste. I generally blanch them and eat them with red pepper sauce (초고추장), which can be bought ready made like tomato sauce, or with swirled in sesame oil, minced garlic and sesame seeds with a little soy sauce. I use them as a side dish. They can also be used in kimbap and pancakes but I have not tried such variations. I would imagine there are numerous other ways of using them.

a street vendor selling durup

Durup and Misteltoe will appear in street markets until about mid May after which they are difficult to find though I would imagine large markets will have dried mistletoe all year. Both are worth trying.

Don’t forget that mugwort (쑥 – sook), artemesia asiatica and mong-gae (멍개), ‘sea squirt,’ are also currently prolific.

mong-gae, or sea squirt (멍개), a delight of the deep?

For my previous posts on posts on these seasonal items, click:





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Mistletoe Magic (Telegraph Newspaper. UK.  Dec. 2010)


Monday Market. Aralia Elata – 두룹

Posted in Quintesentially Korean, seasons, vegetables by 노강호 on May 10, 2010

Shoots of the mountain green, Aralia Elatia. Durup (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.

Aralia Elata the tree. (두룹 나무)

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.

A durup shoot (두룹)

Durup and dip

Durup and pancake

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)