Minari Plant - Ways to Use it in your Cooking

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The minari plant is one of the most commonly used herbs in Korean cooking. The leaves resemble parsley or cilantro, and the thicker, edible stems are similar to watercress.


What Exactly Is Minari?

Minari is a leafy green perennial herb that can be used as a garnish, cooked as a side dish, or tucked into soups and dumplings. It's a popular ingredient in Korean cooking due to its flavor and alleged health benefits. Minari is a type of namul, which refers to Korean greens and wild grasses and their various preparations. Minari can enhance a dish's flavor, texture, nutrients, and vibrancy. The minari plant, like watercress, has crisp leaves and stems that are both edible.

Minari is commonly found in gardens in Korea because it is a fast-growing plant that requires little care. This tradition has been carried on by Korean immigrants all over the world. Minari rose to international prominence as a result of the film of the same name, which depicts a Korean-American family's cross-country move from California to rural Arkansas. The title of the film represents the plant's tenacity and ability to grow in any environment.


What is the flavor of Minari?

Minari has a peppery, fresh, and grassy flavor, similar to watercress and celery. (It's also known as "water celery.") Because of its similar texture and flavor, the herb is frequently compared to parsley.


Ways to Use Minari in Your Cooking

Minari can be found in Asian grocery stores under the names water dropwort, pennywort, or Chinese celery. Here's how to use the minari plant in your regular cooking.

Dumpling filling: Blanch and chop the minari before incorporating it into a dumpling filling for an extra green and fiber-rich addition to dumplings such as Korean mandu. Learn everything about blanching.

Garnish: Finely chop minari leaves and use them to add a fresh component to brothy soups, fried chicken, bibimbap, or stews.

Kimchi: To add flavor to kimchi, add the stems of the minari plant. Save the slimy leaves that form during the fermentation process for another use.

Minari muchim: Blanch the minari and toss it with sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh garlic, and chili flakes for an easy green side dish known in Korean cuisine as minari muchim.

Pancake: Minari is a delicious substitute for or addition to scallions in jeon, Korean-style savory pancakes.

Soup base: Make a homemade broth with the minari and use it as a base for a fresh green springtime veggie or fish soup.


What Is the Distinction Between Minari and Cilantro?

While both minari and cilantro have fragrant stems and tender leaves, their flavor and preparation differ. Minari can be cooked and served as a side dish, whereas cilantro is typically used as a raw garnish by chefs and home cooks.

Cilantro has a strong flavor that some people find soapy, whereas the minari plant has a peppery flavor similar to arugula or cress plants. Minari, also known as Japanese parsley, adds a subtle flavor to simple dishes.
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