The head of Regulatory Affairs here at the DWP has contributed a recipe for Gagh to the Cookbook project.
GAGH (a.k.a. Koh sah rhee)
This dish uses fern brackens or “fern tips” that grow wild in the mountains in Asia. If you’ve ever seen a new fern leaf unfold, you will recognize the tendril-like appearance of the “tip”. The body of the bracken should be soft and pliable. The dish as prepared I fondly referred to as “earth worms” because of the color, texture and earthy flavor of the fern. It is quite delicious warm or cold. Personally I like it warm.
1 pkg dried fern brackens (available in Asian markets) 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tbsp cooking oil 2 Tbsp soy sauce ground cayenne pepper or black pepper to taste salt to taste 1-2 tsp sesame oil 1-2 Tbsp red pepper threads (available in Korean markets) 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds(optional) 1 bag European mixed greens 1 cup green onion, shredded (or purchase at Asian markets) 4-8 oz lean pork (optional)
Place the dried fern brackens in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the ferns to cover and let stand for at least 4 hours or over night. Drain the fern brackens into a colander. The stem and tip of the fern brackens should be soft and easy to compress between thumb and index finger. Discard any stems that remain hard. Cut off about ½ to 1 inch of the end of any stem that is still somewhat hard. The resulting yield should be at least 50-70% of the materials in the package.
Mince finely the garlic or push through a garlic press. Heat the cooking oil in a deep pan or large pot on high for 1 minute. Add the garlic and reduce heat to medium. Sauté until garlic softens and becomes fragrant. Add the ferns and soy sauce and stir well. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add ground cayenne pepper or freshly ground black pepper to taste. Taste and add salt as needed. Cook until ferns become soft but avoid overcooking or it will begin to shred and mush up. Lastly, add the sesame oil and toss lightly.
To shred the green onions, slice diagonally into paper thin slices about 3 inches long and set aside. This can be done more easily if the green onion is sliced in half lengthwise. Using a very sharp knife also helps. Place the mixed greens on a serving plate or large shallow bowl. Cover with a layer of shredded green onions. Place the warm fern brackens on top and garnish with red pepper threads and sesame seeds. Best when served warm. However, it can be served cold without the green onions and mixed greens as a side dish.
To serve as a main dish, add about 4-8 ounces of finely shredded pork when sautéing the garlic.