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.
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.
Tear off the leaves from Jack and wash them clean in running water. Drain and set aside.
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.
WARNING : This is a rather spicy salad. So be aware! Adjust the amount of chili flakes as you like.
Korean spring cabbage salad
- 1 head of Korean spring cabbage
- 1 oz 50g Korean wild garlic
- 1 red chili sliced optional
- 1 T Korean chili flakes
- 1 T fish sauce
- 1 T plum extract or 2t honey
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 t minced garlic
- 1/4 t minced ginger
- 1/2 T sesame oil
- 1/2 T 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.