22 March 2012

Signs of Spring: Baby Radish Greens Kimchi

When I'm down and tired, I really just crave some good, clean comfort food.  Something that hits the spot and comfortably fills the tummy, yet super healthy so that it doesn't weigh me down even more.  I think I've now added this 열무김치 (yeolmu kimchi) to that list of comfort foods.  Pungent and spicy, fermented yet bright green and crunchy, this baby radish greens kimchi is feel-good food that goes perfectly with a bowl of steaming rice.

I first had yeolmu kimchi last summer while visiting Korea.  My friend, Ashley, took me to a fantastic mandu (dumpling) restaurant right next door to her home, and we shared a bubbling casserole loaded with goodies (including the most enormous dumplings I've ever seen) and a fantastically crispy bindaetteok.  The banchan were simple: some kkakdugi and some of this yeolmu kimchi, served in a bowl with ice shavings.  Sipping spoonfuls of the refreshingly icy-cold kimchi juices that hot August day, we talked about food, we talked about k-drama stars, we talked about some of the sights of Seoul we'd be checking out that day.

Since that time, I've wanted to learn how to make it, but lacking a good recipe, as well as the requisite baby radish greens, I haven't had the opportunity.  Until recently, that is.  Browsing through my local Saturday morning farmers market (farmer's market?  farmers' market?), I came across one vendor that had two bunches--get this, only two bunches--of small white radishes with beautiful green tops.  I doubt the radishes were the same variety as the kind traditionally used in yeolmu kimchi, the traditional variety having narrowly tapered roots and these being the more globe-shaped kind, but the greens looked good and so I snapped them up.

One of the things I love about blogging is getting to tap into a great network of cooking friends' recipes.  Going over to Holly's blog, Beyond Kimchee, I found her recipe and tried it out.  You can see in these pictures my yeolmu kimchi just before I set it off to ferment.  After aging it at room temperature for a couple days, I then let it hang out in the refrigerator, as Holly suggested, to let the flavors meld even more.  It was hard, I tell you, having to wait all week!

But in the end, the taste was well worth it.  It's fermented, dear reader, so be forewarned if you don't care for that sort of pungency...but in my book it is absolutely delicious.  Thank you for sharing the recipe, Holly, and thank God for Springtime and baby radishes!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're kind of killing me here... every time I see one of these posts, I crave, oh how I crave! Now I have to make a run to the H-mart again!

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