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If you haven’t seen Minari, the 2020 Korean-American film written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, you may want to watch it before learning about the film’s namesake ingredient. This award-winning film tells a multigenerational story about a Korean-American family. You follow along as Jacob moves his family from California to settle down in rural Arkansas during the 1980s to start a new life. This semi-autobiographical film pulls at your heartstrings as it envelops you in its immigrant story.
After watching the film, you may find yourself back here, learning about the minari plant and about how people prepare it in both Korean and Korean-American families. In this post, we answer the question ‘what is minari?’ as well as list common dishes that include this dish and answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is Minari (Water Dropwort)?
A variety of water dropwort, this leafy green is also known as Korean watercress, water celery, water parsley, or Java water dropwort. This vegetable is native to temperate and tropical climates across Asia as well as Queensland, Australia. You can easily find it growing, unrestrained, along the banks of streams, creeks, and rivers as well as over damp soil from standing water.
Note: While this variety of water dropwort is traditionally believed to have medical properties, other species in the same family are extremely poisonous. As such, I do not recommend foraging for this plant on your own without a properly trained individual.
Minari In Korean Cuisine:
In South Korea, people refer to water dropwort as ‘minari’ (미나리).
People in Korea eat water dropwort in a variety of ways. You can find it:
- In fresh and cooked salads
- As an ingredient mixed into kimchi
- As a leafy vegetable in bibimbap
- Overtop many fish-based soups and stews; And more…
Below, we list a few well-known dishes that often include this leafy vegetable as an ingredient:
Water Dropwort Recipes:
- Minari Muchim (미나리무침): In English, we can translate this to ‘Korean water dropwort salad.’ People serve this salad as a side dish at meals.
- Minari Jeon (미나리 전): This is a Korean savory pancake made using water dropwort!
- Minari-Ganghoe (강회): Blanched minari is used in this unique Korean dish to tie around pressed meat and/or vegetables to make this bite-sized side dish.
Water Dropwort Frequently Asked Questions:
Now that we learned about water dropwort (minari) in Korean cuisine, we want to answer some questions you may have about this ingredient! If we do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email us at [email protected].
What Does Minari Taste Like?
Minari tastes strongly of a cross between celery and parsley. Often, people also describe it as having an herbal and peppery taste.
Where Can I Buy a Bunch of Water Celery (AKA Water Dropwort)?
Typically, you can only find this leafy vegetable seasonally at your local Asian grocery store. I have never heard of anyone finding it at their local western grocery or online.
How Do I Properly Store This Ingredient?
To store this ingredient, I recommend wrapping the stems in damp paper towels and placing the bunch into a plastic bag. Then, keep it in the refrigerator until you use it.
How Long Does Minari Stay Fresh?
Minari wilts rather quickly. I recommend using the bunch within a few days of buying them!
We Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Water Dropwort (Minari)!
In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about the water dropwort, otherwise known as Korean watercress, water celery, water parsley, or minari! If so, let us know in the comment section!
If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find recipes as well as further Korean ingredient articles on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.
Korean Ingredient Articles:
- Korean Eggplant (Gaji)
- Jujubes in Korean Cooking (Daechu)
- Chrysanthemum Greens in Korean Cooking (Ssukgat)
- Dandelion Greens in Korean Cooking (Mindeulle)
- What Is a Korean Melon? (Chamoe); And
- Black Sesame Seeds in Korean Cooking (Heukimja)
Further Carving A Journey Recipes:
- Mango Bingsu (Korean Mango Shaved Ice)
- Korean Dandelion Greens Side Dish
- Korean Spinach Side Dish (Sigeumchi Namul)
If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at [email protected].
And, finally, we would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow us at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog Youtube channel! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to our blog by joining our mailing list. Let us know if you try using minari when cooking! Thank you so much for stopping by!
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