For YK, who shared the recipe with me
For those of us who are married, one of the marital challenges is dealing with in-laws. Learning their peeves, their desires, and learning about them is one of the experiences that married people go through. If you are Korean, or for that matter, any culture where family cultures are very strong and encompassing, these relationships can become even harder.
Fortunately for me, Mother-in-law and I get along well, partly I think because she sees how hard I work in the kitchen. She appreciates my efforts of cooking for Son, Daughter, and Husband and thinks that I try hard. She also likes some of the things that I cook, and consequently I try and please her palate and cook those things she likes.
The first time I had this salad was at friend YK's house and I immediately loved it. It was crisp, fresh, spicy, and very unusual in its use of raw bokchoy - but the flavor was intense and wonderful and I immediately knew Mother-in-law would like it. The flavor is slightly reminiscent of kimchee that hasn't been ripened as of yet. I asked friend for recipe and she obliged.
I was able to prepare this for Mother-in-law this past weekend for a family dinner, and I was right, she loved it. Friend YK told me that all "ajumahs" (A Korean term for older married lady) love this recipe and I think she's right. Mother-in-law enjoyed quite a bit of it and today Mother enjoyed it as well. If you're looking for something a little bit different to make, this is it.
The salad is a great side dish to any Korean meal you're having, would be a great addition to a Korean BBQ, and is especially good with kalbi ggim, Korean Flank Steak, or Ginger Soy Chicken.
3-4 heads of bokchoy, cut in sixths (lengthwise down the center)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 persian cucumbers (baby cucumbers), thinly sliced
1/4 of a white/yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 , thinly sliced
3 tbs green onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugahloo-고추가루 )
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside. The dressing is thick, so do not be alarmed.(I like to use an old, empty jam jar to mix the dressing)
Put all the vegetables into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss until all the vegetables are coated. Serve immediately.
The fish sauce I like