Cut the bottom ends off the komatsuna and wash each stalk carefully.
Divide the stems from the leaves, and cut both up as you like.
Bring water to a boil in a pan, and add the stems first. A minute after the water comes back to a boil add the leaves too.
Boil for 3 to 4 minutes until the leaves are bright green. Strain in a colander. You can cool it under running water, but I leave it to cool down on its own while I prepare the garlic.
When the komatsuna has cooled, take handfuls and squeeze out the excess water.
Put the squeezed out komatsuna in a plastic bag and shake it around to loosen the leaves.
Add the sesame oil and rub it in well.
Take the core out of the garlic.
Grate the rest.
Put all the grated garlic in the bag, wiping it off the grater with a komatsuna leaf. Shake and separate the greens over the bag to distribute the garlic evenly.
Drizzle on some soy sauce, add salt to taste, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Story Behind this Recipe
My husband is Korean. I adapted a recipe I learned from my mother-in-law when we were living in South Korea (they make it with spinach. Komatsuna is not sold there apparently). Namul made with leafy greens is the most standard type of namul eaten in Korean families. It's easy and delicious, so I make it a lot.
My mother in law used plastic gloves for this, but I used a plastic bag to save on washing up. In South Korea they boil the greens whole, squeeze them out and cut them up later. (Small spinach leaves are sometimes removed from the stems, boiled and eaten on their own.)