Fennel ‘Quick Kimchi’
This is not a traditional kimchi, but it approximates the flavor profile, bypassing a lengthier fermentation and instead relying on vinegar. In Korea, this dish would be considered a muchim, which can refer to any number of “seasoned” or “dressed” salads or other preparations. That also means you can eat it right away, though this fennel kimchi will keep up to two or three days before losing its crunch. Admittedly, fennel is not a traditional ingredient in kimchi, but its gentle aniseed flavor provides a clean landing pad for the spicy dressing, which leans on pantry stalwarts like gochugaru, sesame oil and fish sauce. Enjoy this as a hearty salad alongside fish, pork chops or any main dish that could use a fresh accompaniment. For a vegetarian option, you can swap out the fish sauce for soy sauce.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 1pound trimmed fennel bulbs (about 2 or 3), halved, then thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick) from root to stem
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 2tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- ½teaspoon finely grated garlic
- 1tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1tablespoon gochugaru
- 2teaspoons fish sauce
- 1teaspoon granulated sugar
- Thinly sliced scallions, chopped chives, or cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
Step 1In a medium bowl, toss the fennel with the salt, transfer to a colander, and let sit in the sink to drain, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, add the vinegar and garlic and set aside.
Step 2After 30 minutes, add the sesame oil, gochugaru, fish sauce and sugar to the bowl with the vinegar and garlic and whisk to combine. Use a paper or cloth kitchen towel to pat the fennel dry, then add the fennel to the dressing and toss until well coated.
Step 3Garnish with the optional herbs before serving. This is best eaten right away, but can be refrigerated for up to 2 to 3 days.