JEJU WEEKLY

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LifestyleFood and Drink
A Jeju salad like no otherThis week's recipe: Yuchae
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승인 2011.03.11  19:40:59
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▲ Photo by Kimberly Comeau

Ingredients
2 cups of raw yuchae greens
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 green onions, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
salt

First boil about 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the water boils, add the yuchae greens and boil for about 2-3 minutes or until tender. Do not overcook or you will lose the nutrients of the yuchae. To maximize the nutritional value of the yuchae, alternative cooking methods can be used such as stir frying with a little vegetable oil or steaming for 2-3 minutes.

Drain well.

Once drained, toss the greens with the garlic, green onion, and sesame oil and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serves 2 as a side dish.

Yuchae, scientific name, Brassica napus, will, depending on where you are in the world, have a different common name. For example, yuchae is the common name for the plant in Korea but it is called Pak Kwang Tung in Thailand, Yu Choy and Yau Choy in China, Nanohana in Japan and Nabicol in Spain. It is also commonly known as canola or rape-seed. Yuchae is the yellow flowering plant that blooms in the winter all over Jeju Island. It is impossible to miss. Brassica napus is harvested all over the world for its oil and leaves which is harvested for animal feed and human consumption.

The yuchae leaves are appreciated for their high nutrient value. The same chemicals (glucosionolates) that give yuchae its bitter taste are the chemicals that fight against cancer (1).

Yuchae leaves are harvested before the plant flowers bloom, between March and April.Many of the plants you see growing close to the road were planted for ornamental purposes and should not be consumed due to the chemicals contributed by the car emissions. Yuchae can be found at your local markets or even better at Homeplus where it will be packaged and labeled, yuchae. I just said “yuchae” to the lady working at Homeplus and she knew right away what I was talking about and brought it to me.

1. Quantification of glucosinates in leaves of leaf rape (Brassica napus spp. pabularia) by near-infrared spectroscopy. Font R, del Rio Celestino M, Cartea E, de Haro-Bailon A
Phytochemistry. 2005 Jan; 66 (2) 175-85

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