Korean food is famous for its side dishes. There are so many kinds, and each has its unique taste. Out of all the side dishes, spinach is one of the most popular ones. You perhaps tried simple spinach salad in your local Korean restaurant.

Today, I would like to share a Korean spinach side dish that tastes a little different. My mother always made her spinach this way with a little bit of both Korean soybean paste and chili paste. It brings a more robust flavor than the simple bland spinach that most people are used to.

If you like a dish with a full flavor and punch, you will love this recipe. Besides, it is so easy to make, too.

You will need to blanch the spinach in boiling water for 10 seconds. Add some salt while you are blanching to keep their fresh greenness.

By the way, if you have a choice, look for the short spinach for this recipe rather than those long skinny kinds.

Rinse the spinach in very cold water and squeeze out the moisture. If your spinach seems too long, cut them into desired length. 

Here are the Korean soybean paste and the chili paste; my eternal love...

Untangle the spinach and place in a mixing bowl. Add Korean soybean paste and chili paste, a little garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds.

With your two fingers, rub the two pastes together to combine first...,

Then, toss all together to incorporate the seasoning into spinach. 

Like this...

Place in a pretty dish and adore your lovely spinach for a few minutes. 

When you are ready, lift a chopstick-ful...

and then place on top of a spoonful of rice. Put it into your mouth, and savor the flavor! If you are not a spinach lover, this might convert you. 

I can empty a bowl of rice in a blink of an eye with this freshly made spinach side dish, and I wouldn't miss anything else. I loved it and I hope you do, too!

~ Holly

Korean Spinach Side Dish (shigumchi namool)

serves 4-6 as a side dish


  • 1 bunch short stemmed spinach, cleaned
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Korean soybean paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Korean chili paste
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add some salt and blanch the spinach for 10 seconds. Remove the spinach from the water and rinse them in the cold water. Squeeze out the moisture from the spinach. Set aside.
  2. Untangle the spinach and place in a mixing bowl. Add the soybean paste, chili paste, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, Using fingers, smash the two pastes together to combine first, then toss everything to incorporate the seasoning into the spinach giving a massaging action. 
  3. Garnish with more sesame seeds in top if you wish. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Click the images below to get more delicious Korean side dish recipes!

Korean Potato Salad Spicy Bean Sprout Salad

Enjoy cooking Asian recipes? Follow DramaFever's Asian Food board on Pinterest for more ideas!