Korean radish / daikon 2.5 ~ 3 lb
Carrot 1 bunch or ~ 1 lb
Spring onion / scallion 1 bunch
Green garlic 1 bunch (3 - 4 index finger width stalks)
Garlic, grated 3 - 4 medium sized cloves
Ginger, julienned 1 walnut sized nub
Spicy green chili (serrano or jalepeno will do) 1 or 2
Chrysanthemum 1 bunch
Coarse sea salt* ½ cup
Filtered water 2 cups
Lady Hermit chili flakes ½ cup
Filtered water 8 - 10 cups
Coarse sea salt* ¼ c
Asian Pear, juiced, or grated and strained 1 ea
Sugar 1 T plus 1 t
Sour plum extract or verjus blanc 2 t
*use half the amount if using a finer grain of salt.
Korean folks LOVE onomatopoeias. The term “nabak” is an onomatopoetic and old time folksy way of saying “flat,” and in this context it refers to how the kimchi vegetables are sliced flatly, or thinly. It’s a time-proven method of making a quick and deliciously refreshing kimchi just as spring starts to really warm things up and you have a beautiful green like chrysanthemum growing in your garden (or piquing your curiosity at the farmer’s market or Asian grocery).
It’s also a nice way to prepare any number of vegetables that you either have lying around in your fridge or calling out to you as you’re shopping around. Feel free to add napa cabbage, tokyo turnips, sweet bell peppers, lotus root, etc. as long as the vegetable isn’t too starchy.
Thinly sliced vegetables indicate that this is a relatively quick process and will be ready for your table in just a day.
Begin by washing and peeling your vegetables. Remove carrot greens if they have them, and peel off any unwanted outer layers from your spring onions and green garlic, then separate the green tops from the white stalks.
While keeping in mind that a ¼ inch is an ideal thickness for your vegetables of choice, you can cut them into just about any size and shape you want.
An eccentric might go for sharp spears, and a person with a lot of time on their hands might bust out their flower-shaped cookie cutters.
I generally like to keep in mind the size of a spoon and how the cut vegetables will eat with the broth, which is an essential part of this recipe.
Once your vegetables are cut to your heart’s desire, combine them in a large mixing bowl and season generously with coarse salt. You don’t need to use the entire ½ cup if it seems excessive. Toss and lightly massage the vegetables and set aside.
In a small sauce pot, heat up two cups of filtered water to about 70 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit). This is when your water is very warm to the touch and is just beginning to steam; it is also the ideal temperature to bloom and extract flavor and essential oils from your chili powder. Add your chili powder to the heated water, stir, and let sit for about 7 - 8 minutes.
If you are using regular garlic instead of the spring green variety, add the grated garlic paste into the heated water as well.
While your chili is blooming, slice the white stalks of your spring onions and green garlic along with your green chili thinly, and cut the green tops of your spring onions into larger segments, say, about 2 inches each.
After your chilies have bloomed, strain out and discard the solids, and add 8 cups of filtered water, ¼ cup salt, pear juice or sugar, and (if you have it) sour plum extract or verjus blanc. Make sure to stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
At this point, your salted vegetables will be wilted, are nicely seasoned, and still have a nice crunch.
This part is where your personal palate and artistry come into play.
Taste your salted vegetables.
If the natural sweetness of each vegetable is at the forefront, drain out the excess moisture and you’re good to go. If they are more salty than you prefer, give them a rinse.
Place your vegetables, aromatics, and chrysanthemum into an appropriately sized vessel, and finish by pouring in your seasoned chili water.
Grab a spoon, give it a gentle stir and give it a final taste.
Make sure you get the broth and vegetable in one delicious bite.
It should be a pinch saltier than you want the final product to be after it ferments, and if it’s more than that, add 1 - 2 cups of filtered water.
Feel free to have some right away by taking a bowl and throwing in a few ice cubes, but it will benefit from fermenting on a cool part of your kitchen countertop overnight. After 24 hours, give or take, keep it in your fridge and serve it chilled.