Have you ever tried edible chrysanthemum greens before? I noticed them for the first time today at an Asian grocery store labeled as “chun ho.” I recognized them from watching Korean cooking videos on YouTube and wanted to try them. Edible chrysanthemum greens are a different variety than the type grown as ornamental flowers (which I suspect are quite inedible). They are apparently quite nutritious, high in fiber, iron and vitamins, and good for your eyesight. The greens are tasty, a little herbaceous, vaguely minty and fragrant in a pleasant way. The stems can be fibrous if they are on the large side, but as a green vegetable they are quite delicate and easily overcooked. You can eat them raw or lightly cooked, blanched, steamed, sauted, added to shabu-shabu, nabe, hot-pots.
I thought that they would be a good substitute for spinach in a Korean noodle dish called Japchae. Japchae is made with Korean sweet potato “starch noodles” and a variety of sauted vegetables. The whole mixture is coated in a fragrant sauce. It is served at room temperature or cold, perfect for summer!
Chrysanthemum greens (or spinach)
1 handful edible chrysanthemum greens (or spinach)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame seeds
200g beef, cut in strips
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey or sugar
1⁄2 tablespoon sesame oil
1⁄2 tablespoon mirin
1 clove garlic minced
2 eggs, beaten
pinch of salt
1⁄2 large white onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
300g fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp sugar
400 g Korean starch noodles
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey or sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
black pepper to taste
Marinate beef strips with 1 tbsp soy, 1 tbsp sugar, 1⁄2 tablespoon sesame oil, 1⁄2 tablespoon mirin, 1 clove garlic minced, for 10 – 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the chrysanthemum greens, cook for 30-60 seconds until the greens change colour. Drain and rinse in cold water to retain the colour and texture. Squeeze out the water and chop into 5cm lengths. In a small bowl mix the greens with with 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sesame seeds, salt and pepper to taste.
To make the egg strips fry the beaten eggs in a large non-stick pan to make a thin flat omelet. Cool and slice into strips.
Fry the onion with 1-2 tsp oil, season with salt and set aside.
Fry the carrot with 1-2 tsp oil, season with salt and set aside.
Fry the bell pepper with 1-2 tsp oil, season with salt and set aside.
Fry the mushrooms with 1-2 tsp of oil. Add 1 tsp soy sauce and a pinch of sugar to the mushrooms. Set aside.
Fry the beef until any liquid that comes out reduces, and the beef is dry.
Mix together all the sauce ingredients. Boil the noodles according to the package directions. Taste to see that the noodles are cooked. Drain the noodles, do not rinse in cold water. Cut the noodles into shorter lengths with scissors if desired, and mix with sauce while hot. Add in the vegetables and beef. Top with the egg strips and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature or cold.