Nuruk, otherwise known as a starter culture or fermentation starter, is a Korean ingredient used to make a variety of traditional alcohols drunk for centuries on the Korean peninsula. Historians believe this ingredient dates back to the Three Kingdoms Period (3rd century CE). When making soju or makgeolli, people in Korea start with an ingredient called ‘nuruk.’ This traditional Korean culture starter helps get the process of making alcohol started! Here, we will learn about nuruk and how it is made!
The enoki mushroom, also known as the velvet shank, is a species of non-toxic mushroom native to much of East Asia. This edible fungus grows on the stumps and trunks of different species of trees, examples of which include mulberry, persimmon, ash, and the Chinese hackberry. While more popular in Japanese and Chinese cooking, people in South Korea use enoki mushrooms as an easy-to-add ingredient in soups and stews as well as braised dishes. In the Korean language, these mushrooms are known as ‘paengi-beoseot’ (팽이버섯). In English, this translates to ‘mushroom planted near catalpa.’