2 cups of dried gosari, ½ medium white onion, chopped lengthwise
2 ½ tbsp soy sauce, 1 ½ tbsp garlic, minced, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, ½ tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, 3 tbsp water
1. For best results soak dried gosari overnight in water. This will rehydrate the plant and make it soft and tender. If you are in a hurry though, soak for 5 to 6 hours and then boil in water for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. (If you can find gosari that is already hydrated, no soaking or boiling is required.)
2. Thoroughly drain water from gosari.
3. Add vegetable oil to a frying pan and make sure to bring to a high heat. Add gosari, sugar and water until thickened. Cook for about 3 minutes.
4. Lower the heat to medium, add soy sauce, onion and garlic and cook for another 10 minutes.
5. Add sesame oil in the last few minutes of cooking. Be sure to mix in the sesame oil well. Serves 5 people as a side dish.
Gosari is commonly eaten in Korea and other parts of Asia. Gosari translated into English is bracken fern, and its scientific name is pteridium aquilinum. Gosari is an important addition to Korean ancestral ceremonies but is commonly found as a side dish in some of the more upscale Korean restaurants.
Gosari can be purchased at most markets either dried and or rehydrated. If you go to a large supermarket like Emart, Lotte Mart, or Homeplus, they will be found in bags that have the English name: bracken fern, along with the Korean name. If you are trying to stay authentically Korean, be sure to ask someone if the product you are buying is actually from Korea, as much of the gosari is imported from China.
If you are the adventurous sort, try trekking out to pick your own gosari. It is an incredibly rewarding bonus to the gosari preparation experience. The “hunt” for gosari is a traditional undertaking for many Koreans who look forward to the “gosari rain” and the coming of the new bracken fern. The best time to harvest gosari is early spring, between April and May, and they are mostly found on oreum or hilly grounds. The plant must be picked before the fronds unravel into a fern. If there is any sign of unravelling, it will have a bitter taste when consumed.
Gosari is low in calories and provides many nutrients like dietary fiber; vitamins C, A (carotene), and E; and calcium. Like any vegetable, it will contribute to the daily minimum of five fruits and vegetables that the World Health Organization recommends (1), but before you decide to make gosari a staple of your diet, please be aware of the potential dangers outlined below.
Health Note: This plant should be consumed in moderation as there is some controversy over whether it may have some carcinogenic properties. Also, this plant should not be consumed if someone is thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficient as gosari contains a toxin, thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine causing beriberi. Although it is said that soaking and boiling the gosari helps decrease this toxin, it is still present (2).
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