In late fall, Korean homes make enough kimchi to last through the winter and early spring. By this point in spring, the kimchi has aged and tastes pretty sour. While old kimchi is great for dishes such as kimchi jjigae, kimchi jjim, kimchi jeon, etc., we crave fresh kimchi. This makes a salad-like kimchi, called geotjeori (겉절이), a popular spring dish.
Geotjeori is made in a small amount for immediate consumption without fermentation. Geot means outer or outside, and jeori means salted or pickled, so the name, geotjeori, implies that the vegetables are lightly salted unlike normal kimchi, which is fermented.
Geotjeori is typically made with napa cabbage or other varieties of cabbages such as young cabbage called putbaechu or spring cabbage called bomdong (봄동). Here, I made it with tender baby bok choy. In Korea, bok choy is called cheongyeongchae (청경채), so the name of this dish is cheonggyeonchae geotjeori.
Typical kimchi seasoning is used to make geotjeori. Every household makes it a little differently. My mother adds sesame oil to her geotjeori, and some of my friends even add a little vinegar.
So, here’s a quick and easy recipe when you need to whip up a kimchi substitute or when you want fresh kimchi.
- 1 pound baby bok choy
- 1-1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon saeujeot (salted shrimp), finely chopped (or use more fish sauce)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons sugar (or corn syrup or Korean rice syrup)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
- Separate the leaves by cutting off the stem of each bok choy. Rinse and drain.
- Place the bok choy in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and toss well to coat evenly. Leave it for 30 to 40 minutes until softened, flipping over once halfway through.
- Thinly slice the onion and scallion. Combine all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl, and mix well with 3 tablespoons water.
- Rinse the bok choy twice and drain well.
- Add the onion, scallions, and seasoning mix to the bok choy. Using a kitchen glove, toss everything well by hand until the bok choy pieces are well coated with the seasoning. Add a little salt or more fish sauce to taste.