Cycle 3 – Item 154
7 (Thu) June 2012
Buchu & Eggs
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
In the comments to a previous post, I had listed the various types of green onions used in Korean cuisine and translated them, as I understood them, into English (see 2.338 Padak). I was kinda right about most of it, but not really.
Here’s a redo, expanded list (it makes more sense to start with the English terms, because some of them don’t have Korean equivalents):
Widely available in Korea
- garlic = Allium sativum = maneul (마늘)
- onion = Allium cepa = yangpa (양파)
- Welsh onion, Japanese bunching onion, escallion = Allium fistulosum = pa (파), daepa (대파) (looks like a leek, but isn’t)
- scallion, green onion, spring onion = (technically not a species per se but representing the young bulb + leaf form of various onions, often the Welsh or Chinese onion) = jjokpa (쪽파) (this is most similar to the ,scallions used in the States), silpa (실파) (thinner, like the ones used in Japanese cooking)
- garlic chive = Allium tuberosum = buchu (부추) (on E-Mart packaging = “Chosun leek”) (baby buchu, which look kinda like chives have flat scapes is kind of a new thing, referred to as “geon-gang (health) buchu” (건강부추) or “yeong-yang (nutrition) buchu,” though neither term is technical, as far as I could ascertain)
Not available in Korea
- leek = Allium ampeloprasum = no Korean term
- shallot, multiplier onion = Allium cepa var. aggregatum, formerly Allium ascalonicum (when it was classified as a separate species from the common onion) = no Korean term
- chive = Allium schoenoprasum = no Korean term
- Chinese/Japanese(rakkyo)/Oriental scallion/onion = Allium Chinense = no Korean term
With a bit of research, I learned a few things: (i) garlic is part of the onion family, which seems rather obvious, now that I think about it; (ii) indeed, the genus category “Allium” derives from the Latin for “garlic,” even though it’s generally referred to as the “onion family;” (iii) both “shallot” and “scallion” derive from “Ashkelon,” the name of a city in Israel; and (iv) scallion isn’t an actual species in itself.
Buchu are quite distinct from other onion family members. In appearance, they’re like slender bulbless scallions with flat scapes, similar to grass. In fact, I find them to taste somewhat grassy, or somewhat reminiscent of a leafy green, though some sources describe their flavor as being garlicky – hence “garlic chive.” Texturally, again like grass, they’re chewy rather than snappy, especially when cooked.
Koreans use buchu primarily in 4 ways: (i) as kimchi or as filler for other types of kimchi, most often cucumber kimchi; (ii) part of mandu stuffing; (iii) buchu jeon (see 2.306 Buchu Jeon); (iv) as garnish for soups.
I developed this dish based on something that a previous nanny of ours had often prepared. Taking her basic recipe, which consisted of scrambling an egg, then tossing in the buchu with a liberal amount of oil and soy sauce, my revisions include adding minced garlic and ginger and seasoning with oyster sauce and white pepper. It’s one of the simplest, quickest, cheapest, tastiest, nutritiousest dishes that I do.
- 300 grams (about 5 cups) of buchu, chopped into even lengths (2-4 cm long), bases kept separate
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 TB of Yeondu (or light soy sauce)
- 2 tsp of sesame oil
- 2 TB of canola oil
- 1 TB garlic, minced
- 1 knob of ginger, chopped into large pieces
- 3 TB of oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
1. In a wok on high heat, add sesame oil + eggs + Yeondu, then scramble until cooked, set aside.
2. Add canola oil + ginger to the wok, sweat the ginger until fragrant (30 seconds), remove the ginger and discard.
3. Add the garlic and stir (15 seconds).
4. Add the base part of the buchu + oyster sauce + pepper, then toss until they begin to wilt (30 seconds).
TIP: The bases take longer to cook, so they’re added first.
5. Add remaining buchu and continue to toss until they begin to wilt (30 seconds).
6. Add eggs back into the wok and toss until well mixed with the buchu (30 seconds).
7. Serve with steamed rice.
(See also FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)