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Korean spring cabbage salad, the sign of spring

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April 5, 2010

Korean spring cabbage salad, the sign of spring

  Korean Jack & Jill salad
  Every country has its own salad that welcomes season of spring. I remember when there was a spring cabbage salad on our dinner table at my house in Korea, it gave me a warm feeling, even as a child, that spring finally has come. Spring creates a sense of hope and excitement.  As a child I did not like the winter at all. It was windy and dreary, too cold to play hide and seek, or other games outside. 

When the weather gets warm many young girls in our neighborhood used to get together to go an expedition on the famous Nam-mang mount in my hometown of Tong Young. We looked for spring flowers, herbs, and other edible plants to take home with us to surprise our mothers. We did not have any fancy toys like iPod, or Nintendo in the late 70th when we were growing up, but the nature was our best toys and I still believe it is to any children these days.
 This spring cabbage and wild garlic salad is a sign of spring in Korea. The sweet and tender spring cabbage balances so well with slightly bitter and peppery wild garlic in spicy tangy dressing. Tasting this salad always reminds me of my childhood yearning of spring. 

Well, I guess I am getting a little sentimental now. So before I begin sniffing my nose (for some reason I tend to be emotional whenever I think of my hometown), let's get to work.

This is the Korean Spring cabbage (봄동, Bom-dong). Quite short and flat, huh! If you go to Korean stores in early March through April, you might be lucky enough to grab some of these guys. It is only available in early spring so don't miss out the chance!
I want to call him "Jack".  Jack is very tender and sweet. He can be served as salads or in soups or stews. You can even stir fry him.

This is a "Jill", the wild garlic (달래, Dal-lae).  Thin and tall like I used to be! (?)  Jill is peppery and slightly bitter, kinda taste like Arugula. You will only need 1/3 of the bunch in this recipe. 
She will add nice balance to the salad.

Tear off the leaves from Jack and wash them clean in running water. Drain and set aside.

Jill is a stubborn girl with an attitude. Let me teach you how to train a stubborn girl. Grab her legs first, turn her upside down, and shake her hair in the water. This will remove some dirt. She will be submissive after that. Am I too cruel?
NOTE : Do not attempt this to real human!

Now you gotta give her some sympathy after all the shaking fight by submerging her in the water to wash. Rinse and drain well.

Cut Jack like this,

 cut Jill like that,
and put them together.

Now these guys are for dressing. Plum extract (thick plum syrup. They call it plum tea because you can mix with hot water and drink like tea), Fish sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds(roasted), sesame oil, Korean chili flakes, garlic, ginger, and the red chili (optional). All of them are easily found in Korean stores. If you can't find the plum extract substitute with honey.
 Combine all the ingredients to make the dressing. Mix well. I will add red chili later.
 Pour dressing over the salad and add red chili if you like. Mix well with massaging motion gently so the dressing can soak into Jack and Jill. Taste it first to see if they are well seasoned. You can always adjust the amounts of each dressing ingredients as you like. A little more of this or that!
 WARNING : This is a rather spicy salad. So be aware! Adjust the amount of chili flakes as you like.

Jack and Jill went into the kitchen
to fetch a bowl of salad
Jack fell down,
broke his crown
and Jill came tumbling after.

Have a nice hot, popping rice ready to eat with this salad. 
You don't need anything else except a cold glass of water and a few napkins, maybe?

Spring cabbage wild garlic salad
Serves 2-3 
1 head of Korean spring cabbage
1 oz (50g) Korean wild garlic
1 red chili sliced (optional)
1T Korean chili flakes
1T fish sauce
1T plum extract or 2t honey
1T apple cider vinegar
1t minced garlic
1/4t minced ginger
1/2T sesame oil
1/2T sesame seeds roasted

Tear off the leaves from cabbage discarding any bruised or rough looking ones. clean them in the water.  Clean wild garlic in the water. Cut them into desired size and place them in a mixing bowl.
In a small bowl mix the rest of the ingredients to make dressing. 
Pour dressing over salad and toss well by gently massaging them so the dressing can soak into the cabbage. Adjust the amount of chili flakes as you like

Serve with hot rice and a glass of cold water just in case your mouth is burning.

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At April 9, 2010 at 6:15 PM , Anonymous Aesoon Lee said...

Wow! I love dishes like this. Where can I get the Korean wild Garlic? At the Kimberley Korean stores?? BTW, I ended up getting the Dick" Santoku knife at the Pantry Magic and I love using it.

At April 9, 2010 at 9:39 PM , Blogger beyondkimchee said...

Yes, you can get the wild garlic at the Korean store at TST if they still have in stock.I am glad that you got the Santoku knife. It rocks in your hand, isn't it?

At April 16, 2010 at 9:28 PM , Anonymous Aesoon Lee said...

I finally made this dish this morning. It turned out really tasty. This is the first time I've used the plum tea as a seasoning ingredient. I love it when I discover a secret ingredient. The plum tea lends a sweet, tart, and something 'je ne sais quoi' that vinegar alone would not. It was a pain in the neck to find, though. I scoured both the wanchai and causeway wet market looking for it. People mostly shook their heads when I showed them the chinese characters and one young man actually said 'no' before even looking at the words. I thought that was funny. I got so desperate that I asked my husband to get it for me in Korea while he was there last week. But I finally found it at the Korean store in TST....not sure why I didn't think of that first. Anyway, I guess it's part and parcel to making a great dish.
The Korean store still had the mountain garlic, but not the young cabbage. So, I just substituted iceberg lettuce and it still turned out fine.

At July 5, 2010 at 4:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the dressing recipe. used romaine and nappa cabbage. you know the recipe for the young dong lettuce salad dressing? would like to have another variation..pls. reply..thanks again

At July 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM , Blogger beyondkimchee said...

Hi there,
Sorry for the late reply. I have been traveling so far and doesn't get much access to internet. I am glad that you like the salad. I am not sure what you mean by young dong lettuce.
Is there Korean name for it?


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