Sunday, April 8, 2012

KOREAN FOOD: Korean Garlic Chives & Wild Chives (2)


DALLAE (달래, “Korean Wild Chives”)

Korean wild chives (Dallae, 달래), or allium monanthum, are tiny wild perennial herbs, or tiny wild onions, that are very resistant to cold and can withstand 4 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) below zero.  They are considered in season March through April during which they are softest, most nutritious, hence best for the body. If they are allowed to become larger past April, they get a little too tough to eat.  Since the whole plant including roots is used in cooking, you have to wash its roots thoroughly.

Korean Wild Chives (Dallae)

Dong-Ui-Bo-Gam (동의보감, “Mirror of Eastern Medicine”) describes Korean wild chives as follows:

"Korean wild chives grow in mountains.  The plant’s roots and leaves look the same as those of garlic, but thinner, smaller, and smellier.  It is used as an herbal remedy for spleen and kidney.  It warms up your body, helps digestion, cures vomiting and diarrhea, and treats venomous insect bites and stings."

In traditional Korean herbal medicine, Korean wild chives are known to treat diarrhea, stomach problems, bleeding, anemia, and dysentery.  It helps strengthen your spleen and kidney function, lowers cholesterol levels, and suppresses the growth and propagation of cancer cells.  It’s a great remedy for (i) people with a cold constitution as it effectively warms up the body, and (ii) people suffering from pneumonia, insomnia, enteritis, gastritis, menstrual cramps, menstrual irregularity, leucorrhea, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as chronic bronchitis.

Nutritionally, Korean wild chives are rich in vitamins (vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and beta carotene or vitamin A), minerals (calcium, potassiumphosphorus, iodine, and iron), chlorophyll, and dietary fiber.  The plant contains (i) high levels of vitamin A that boosts your immune system, (ii) high levels of vitamin C that increases skin metabolism hence prevents freckles and skin aging, and (iii) high levels of B1 and B2 that prevent dry, chapped lips.  It’s also rich in iron that prevents anemia and potassium that helps eliminate excess sodium from your body.  And just like garlic chives, Korean wild chives contain allyl sulfides, a colorless liquid with a garlicky odor and a boil, which is converted into allithiamine when combined with vitamin B1.  Allithiamine helps relieve fatigue and recover strength, hence increase male stamina and virility.  

Above all else though, Korean wild chives are a good appetite stimulant and digestive aid as they have a unique, pungent flavor and aroma.  Most common Korean recipes that use Korean wild chives are “Dallaejeon” (달래전, “Korean Wild Chive Pancakes”), “Dallae Namul” (달래나물, “Seasoned Korean Wild Chives”), “Dallae Muchim” (달래무침, “Spicy Korean Wild Chive Salad”), “Dallae Jangajji” (달래장아찌, “Pickled Korean Wild Chives”), “Dallae Yangnyeomjang” (달래 양념장, “Dipping Sauce with Korean Wild Chives”)or “Dallae Doenjangguk” (달래된장국, “Korean Wild Chive Soybean Paste Soup”).  Just like “Buchu Doenjangguk” (부추된장국),  “Dallae Doenjangguk” treats upset stomach or diarrhea and shows a synergistic effect between Korean wild chives and soybean paste as an anticancer remedy.

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