Dried fernbrake (gosari) is rehydrated and then stir-fried with soy sauce, minced garlic, and a few other select ingredients to create a delicious Korean side dish.
This is a very traditional and common Korean side dish. Gosari namul is the brown colored vegetable out of the 3 colored namuls (samsaek namul 삼색나물). This dish has a deep, earthy, and savory flavor profile. The texture is a little bit chewy and it is why it goes so great with bibimbap. The chewy texture mixed with the soft rice really makes for a great texture combination.
What is gosari?
Gosari comes from a genus of large, coarse ferns in the family Dennstaedtiaceae. These ferns are also known as Bracken (Pteridium). For use in Korean cuisine, these ferns are harvested when they are young for use as a vegetable. When the plant is young, the leaves of the ferns are not fully open and have a curled pattern to them known as fiddleheads.
By Sous Chef – https://www.flickr.com/photos/140536182@N03/39947045805/, CC BY 2.0, Link
Is gosari safe to eat?
There have been some concerns about the toxicity of gosari. Most of the toxicity concerns from my research stem from the carcinogenic compound ptaquiloside. However, it is known that ptaquiloside is water-soluble and destroyed in heat (by cooking) and alkaline conditions (by soaking). So in saying that, rest assured that we are doing a combination of boiling and soaking in our recipe. Also, that goes to say, please do not ever eat these ferns raw.
As they always, everything in moderation. If you eat gosari every single day, at almost every single meal, then maybe there is a rationale in being slightly concerned. As Hank Shaw stated in his article in The Atlantic, “The carcinogen is no stronger than that in alcohol, and many of us drink that every day.” We feel confident eating gosari here and there, especially when we are preparing it properly with the multiple steps of boiling, soaking, and cooking.
As always if you are concerned with the safety of eating gosari, feel free to do your own research on the topic to come up with your own conclusions prior to eating it. This is not medical or health advice. Seek your professional advisor’s opinion if you’re concerned with the effects of eating fernbrake (gosari).
Key features and tips
We are using dried fernbrake (gosari) in our recipe. Dried gosari is typically easily found in any Korean or Asian market. Sometimes you will also find already boiled/hydrated fernbrake in the Asian markets as well, however that can be harder to find.
If you have leftover fernbrake (gosari) due to rehydrating too much, you can always freeze it. Place in a freezer-safe bag or container after it has been boiled, left in the hot water for 2 hours, rinsed, and cooled. Squeeze as much excess water out of the fernbrake (gosari) before placing it in the freezer-safe bag or container. Then all you would have to do is thaw it and soak it in cool, fresh water for 24 hours before using it in a recipe in the future.
- Dried fernbrake (gosari) (Or 2 cups rehydrated/boiled fernbrake (gosari)), chopped 2” length
- Soy sauce
- Dasida beef powder soup stock
- Ground black pepper
- Fish sauce
- Sesame oil
- Olive oil
- Green onion, thinly sliced on diagonal
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Garlic, minced
Let’s make this Korean Stir-Fried Fernbrake Side Dish (Gosari Namul)
Step 1: Prepare the dried fernbrake (gosari)
First, let’s prepare the dried fernbrake (gosari) by boiling, soaking, and cutting into pieces. In a pot, place a handful of dried gosari (about 1 ½ oz) and enough water to completely cover the gosari. Bring the gosari and water to a boil.
After it has reached a boil, turn the heat down to low heat and cover with a vented lid. Allow the gosari to continue cooking for about 1 hour.
After an hour, then leave the gosari in the hot water for about 2 hours. After the 2 hours is up, rinse off the gosari with fresh, clean water and drain well. Fill the pot with clean, cold water and allow it to sit in the water for 24 hours and set aside on the counter. After 24 hours of soaking, then drain and cut the gosari into 2” long pieces.
Step 2: Stir-fry the fernbrake (gosari)
Now, it is finally time to stir-fry. Place a pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and the gosari. Stir-fry until all the liquid has evaporated. This could take about 10 minutes.
Once the liquid has completely evaporated, then add the soy sauce, salt, Dasida beef powder stock, ground black pepper, and fish sauce to the pan with the gosari. Continue stir-frying for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the green onions, sesame oil, and sesame seeds and quickly mix well (about 30 seconds). Note: You don’t want to really cook this at this point. Just enough time to quickly mix it all in together.
Step 3: Enjoy!
Remove the pan from the heat. Place the stir-fried gosari in a serving dish, and enjoy!
This Korean Stir-Fried Fernbrake Side Dish (Gosari Namul) is typically used as a side dish (banchan). It’s also very tasty if served simply alongside a bowl of steamed white rice and Korean steamed eggs (gyeran jjim). This vegetable is also traditionally used in bibimbap – see one of our bibimbap recipes here. You will also typically see gosari in a spicy beef soup dish called yukgaejang.
We hope you enjoy our Korean Stir-Fried Fernbrake Side Dish (Gosari Namul 고사리나물) recipe!
Need more side dish recipes?
- Stir-Fried Poke Salad (Sallet) Stems
- Easy Asian Pan-Fried Zucchini
- Korean Seasoned Spinach Side Dish (Sigeumchi-namul)
- Korean Marinated Wild Chives (Dallae-muchim)
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