Namul is a general term for side dishes of vegetables, herbs, or wild leafy greens. The precise name of the dish will derive from the vegetable used and method of preparation.
Any type of vegetable, herb, or green can be used as Namul. The dish can include roots, leaves, stems, seeds, sprouts, petals, or fruits, and may be a combination of different plants.
There are two main methods of preparation : stir-frying the vegetables with spices, and blanching the vegetables and then seasoning them, but they may also be served fresh (raw), or boiled, fried, sautéed, fermented, dried, or steamed.
The most common seasonings are soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, powdered red chili pepper, and salt.
Namul are typically served as banchan (a side dish accompanying the main course). It is possible to have more than one type of namul served as a banchan at a single meal.
A few examples of namul include chwinamul (wild leafy plants), hobak namul (made from hobak, a Korean squash with green skin and orange flesh), shigeumchi (spinach), and kongnamul (soybean sprouts).