3.154 Stir-Fried Buchu & Eggs

-Cycle 3, Item 154-
7 (Thu) June 2012

Stir-Fried Buchu & Eggs 

* * * * *

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Wife, Dominic, and Mother-in-Law

In the comments under a prior post, Number One Fan Lisa asked me to translate the Korean terms for various members of the onion family into English (see 2.338 Pa-Dak). The post featured the Korean ingredient pa (파), which I'd referred to in English as "leek."  Lisa was skeptical.  I broke down the list to the best of my knowledge, based admittedly on nothing more than personal observation. It turns out that I was kinda right about most of it, but not really.

With tonight's dish featuring a type of onion whose name may also not be amenable to precise translation from Korean to English, I did some actual research this time.  Here are the results (English to Korean):

- leek = Allium ampeloprasum = no Korean term

- Welsh onion, Japanese bunching onion, escallion = Allium fistulosumpa (파), daepa (대파)

- onion = Allium cepa = yangpa (양파)

- shallot, multiplier onion = Allium cepa var. aggregatum, formerly Allium ascalonicum (when it was classified as a separate species from the common onion) = no Korean term

- garlic = Allium sativummaneul (마늘)

- garlic chive = Allium tuberosumbuchu (부추) (on E-Mart packaging, "Chosun leek")

- chive = Allium schoenoprasum = no Korean term (recent use of this relatively new item, which is often referred to by its English name, has given rise to the neologisms "geon-gang (health) buchu" (건강부추) or "yeong-yang (nutrition) buchu," though neither term is official, as far as I could ascertain)

- Chinese/Japanese(rakkyo)/Oriental scallion/onion = Allium Chinense = no Korean term

- scallion, green onion, spring onion = (technically not a species per se but representing the young bulb + leaf form of various onions, often the Welsh or Chinese onion) = jjokpa (쪽파), silpa (실파)

In doing the research, I learned a few things: (i) garlic is part of the onion family, which seems rather obvious, now that I think about it; (ii) indeed, the genus category "Allium" derives from the Latin for "garlic," even though it's always referred to as the "onion family;" (iii) both "shallot" and "scallion" derive from "Ashkelon," the name of a city in Israel; and (iv) scallion isn't an actual species in itself (!).

Buchu are quite distinct from other onion family members.   In appearance, they're like slender bulbless scallions with flat scapes, similar to grass.  In fact, I find them to taste somewhat grassy, or somewhat reminiscent of a leafy green, though some sources describe their flavor as being garlicky--hence "garlic chive."  Texturally, again like grass, they're chewy rather than snappy, especially when cooked.

Koreans use buchu primarily in 3 ways.  One, they're made into buchu kimchi or chopped up as filler for cucumber kimchi.  Two, they're chopped up and added to the stuffing of mandu. Three, they're made into buchu jeon (see 2.306 Buchu Jeon).  That's it.

I developed the dish here based on something that a previous nanny of ours had often prepared.  Taking her basic recipe, which consisted of scrambling an egg, then tossing in the buchu with a liberal amount of oil and soy sauce, my revisions include adding minced garlic and ginger and seasoning with oyster sauce and white pepper.  It's one of the simplest, quickest, cheapest, tastiest, nutritiousest dishes that I do.

On high heat, scramble 2 eggs in 2 tsp canola oil until starting to set.
Season with salt.
Set aside.

Mince 4 cloves garlic + 1/2 tsp ginger (or more).
Saute in 2 tbsp canola oil for 5 seconds.

Cut 200 grams of buchu into 4 equal lengths.
Add buchu bases (which take longer to cook).
Add 1 tbsp oyster sauce + 1/4 tsp white ground pepper (this is what makes it Chinese).
Stir-fry until buchu begins to soften, about 30 seconds.

Add remaining buchu scapes.
Stir-fry until scapes begin to wilt, about 30 seconds.

Remove from heat.
Add scrambled eggs.


  1. What are ramps in Korean? JK. This is a really good explanation.

  2. Allium tricoccum – known as the ramp, spring onion, ramson, wild leek,wood leek and wild garlic. One of the most onioniest of all the alliums.

  3. ramps! very cool! i'd never heard of them. i can't recall ever seeing one, certainly not here, but even in the states. i'm totally eager to try one someday. wikipedia says that the name "Chicago" derives from the Indian word for the plant....

  4. They're elusive; I think they only grow in certain areas and only for a limited time each year (I think a month or a few weeks?), at least in CA. but they're very tasty; you can eat them as an ingredient/vegetable or a seasoning. Great onion/garlic flavor.

    Why the shout-out to Chicago?