Shigumchi Namul (Korean Seasoned Spinach)

Shigumchi Namul or Sigumchi Namul is an integral part of many popular Korean dishes. Yes; you can most certainly serve it on its own as a respectable banchan (side dish). But Shigumchi Namul is much more than that. You can bring color, flavor, and nutrients to many main dishes simply by adding it as an ingredient. Bibimbap (mixed rice), Kimbap (rolled rice in laver), and Japchae (mixed or stir-fried cellophane noodles) are the first to come to mind.

Shigumchi Namul is a classic Korean side dish. But I prepare it a bit differently than my foremothers.  I water-sauté the spinach instead of boiling it.  When you boil the spinach, you have to wait for the water to boil; and after boiling, you have to squeeze out the water from the spinach.  I know. It sounds a bit counter-intuitive.  But that’s how it’s traditionally done.   The water-sauté method saves me a lot of time and energy by allowing me to dispense with those steps.  And the end product tastes just as delicious.

It’s so simple and healthy. You must try it!


Shigumchi Namul (Korean Seasoned Spinach)
1 bunch, spinach (about 1 pound)
canola oil
1-2 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of chopped green onion: Optional*
1 clove garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds

  1. Wash spinach in cold water, making sure to rinse off dirt or mud.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat.
  3. Place just enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan.
  4. Add spinach to the pan small portion at a time. Stir. Give each portion a few seconds to start wilting before adding more.
  5. Once all of the spinach has been added to the pan, add about a tablespoon of water into the pan.
  6. Turn up the heat to bring the water in the pan to a “boil”. The water will speed up the wilting process by steaming the spinach.  If the spinach start sticking to the pan, add a little bit more water. Stir with tongs or spatula until the spinach has JUST wilted and the water has evaporated. This should happen within a minute from when the water is added – very quickly. DON’T overcook.
  7. Remove from heat.  Add minced garlic to the pan.  Mix.
  8. Add rest of the seasoning: salt, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, crushed toasted sesame seeds, and chopped green onions (if using). Mix well.
  9. Garnish with additional toasted sesame seeds and/or chopped green onions if desired. Serve.

*I usually don’t add green onions if I plan to use it as an ingredient in a main dish.

11. August 2011 by gomo
Categories: Banchan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Korean Food, Namul, Salad, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *