An easy side dish made with seasonal garlic cloves! It’s super easy and delicious!
Have you tried cooking garlic cloves (maneuljjong, 마늘쫑)—those thin, green stalks with curly and thready ends? They are in season from late spring to early summer. I previously posted a recipe for Roasted Garlic Scape (Maneuljjong Bokkeum, 마늘쫑볶음). This Maneuljjong Muchim (마늘쫑무침) recipe is another quick side dish you can make with garlic sprouts that are now sweet and tender.
What are Garlic Sprouts?
Garlic leaves are the curly flowering shoots/stems of hardy garlic plants. They are cut off so that plant energy can focus on the garlic bulbs. The pods are milder than the garlic bulbs but still quite garlicky. The spicy, garlic-like flavor softens as it cooks. In terms of texture, raw stalks are crispy, similar to that of thin asparagus, although garlic stalks are generally tougher and fibrous.
Garlic cloves are by no means an uncommon ingredient in Korea. Koreans grow a lot of garlic, so in the spring there are plenty of garlic cloves, which are used as a vegetable in a variety of dishes – fried, blanched and seasoned or pickled.
Sometimes I puree some scapes into a paste and add it to the grated potatoes to make potato pancakes, or to my homemade pasta or dumpling dough. It gives a nice taste and color to these dishes. They are really versatile!
So grab some if you see it at your local grocery store, Korean/Asian market, or farmers market. Look for thin ones with a nice green color. Scapes tend to be more tender early in the season than late in the season.
How to cook garlic scapes
For this recipe, blanch the scapes in boiling water. Blanching brings out the mildly sweet garlic flavor and tenderizes the leaves. After rinsing them in cold water and draining them, mix them with a few basic seasoning ingredients. This flavorful vegetable doesn’t actually need any other flavorful vegetables. So there is no need to mince or mince garlic or ginger. super easy!!
Garlic cloves can also be eaten raw. You can skip blanching if the scapes are nice and tender and you don’t mind a bit more spiciness.
Gochujang is the main spice ingredient in this recipe, but gochugaru is a nice addition for that extra spicy kick that some of us love. Feel free to adjust the amount of gochugaru to your liking. I used sugar in this recipe for sweetness. If you have maesilcheong (Korean plum syrup), use a tablespoon or two. The fruity sweetness and acidity goes well with the garlic vegetables.
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Maneuljjong Muchim (Spicy Garlic Cloves)
If you have maesilcheong (Korean plum syrup), it’s good for this dish. Use about a tablespoon or to taste. The fruity sweetness and acidity pair well with this garlic vegetable.