Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hasty and Tasty Dandelion Kimchi

Hey all, so- as promised, here's the steps to making really really yummy kimchi out of your dandelions.

In this picture, my mom is cutting the bigger dandelions in half.  We washed it a few times, and cleaned them (yes, even though we did that already at my house).  It took me a week to amass four large bags of dandelions and during that time, some of the baby leaves have turned brown.

Here we moved location into the sun, and I told my mom "I need to have my foot present in a photo so my readers don't think I'm just making my poor mother do all this work".  Her reaction :)

Okay there it is! all cleaned and slightly damp from a rinsing.

To this, you want to add salt.  That bag says "Coarse sea salt", but I want to say "pickling salt" is okay, too. At this point, we are trying to draw moisture out of the dandelions.  Let them sit for an hour or two with a good scattering of the salt through it... like a steak.

Now they are all wilted, and the moisture is pooled at the bottom.  Some of the moisture came from the rinse we did and some of it came from the dandelions.

Here we are washing the salt off of it.  At this point, we gave it a taste and my mother exclaimed "AIGOOOO!! Too salty!".  You may also have this problem, as my mothers instructions just eyeballed the sea salt with no measurements.  That is ok.  This recipe is forgiving.   We are going to have our kimchi sit in some water while we make the rest of the stuff. That way, we will draw out the excess of salt.

Upper left: Upside down bag of Chili pepper powder, Vietnamese fish sauce, Bear brand Flour,and Tone's sea salt. (you could use the same sea salt/pickling salt from earlier).

A good amount of chili pepper powder into a large bowl.  And add fish sauce and mix with your hand.

In a saucepan put in a quart to 1.5 qts water

In a bowl, mix Bear Brand flour, some salt, and water.  If your dandelion greens are very salty, don't add salt here. If they're just at the point where it's nicely salted, just add a little salt to the flour mixture.
 This is applying the same principle as corn starch. If you don't mix it with water and just add it to the hot water, you will end up with chunks.

When the water in saucepan has come to a furious boil, whisk the saucepan,
and pour the flour water mixture. Keep whisking as it turns thick
(kind of like when you've added milk to a roux... )
After all flour is dissolved, and it is as smooth as vanilla pudding, put it aside and let it cool.
We put it outside to speed the process, as it was a breezy day.

In this chopping board, you see cut scallions, and the bowl of chili powder and fish sauce.  We are about to blend Whole garlic cloves, and ginger in just enough water to cover.

Add puree'd ginger and garlic to the fish sauce bowl.
Add scallions to fish sauce bowl.

Here we are taking the wilted dandelions that sat in fresh water because we accidentally made it too salty earlier.  We tasted it to make sure it was salty like when making salty pickles...  I will tell you there is a bitter finish to the dandelions, but it truly goes away or significantly reduces once the fermentation is over.

Here's the "glue" as my mom calls it on the left. That is the Bear brand flour that was whisked into the water.
The right has the bowl of everything else.

The dandelion greens are placed into a tub where I will ferment it for a couple of days.
This is just a large plastic tub with a lid.  For those of you in the know, this is a tub from a Kimchi refrigerator.  HARDCORE!
Pour in everything from the fish sauce bowl.

Now, pour in a good amount of the glue. I want to say we actually didn't use all of it. It's basically  a binder or as she called it "glue" to make all the seasonings stick to the dandelions.

Mix it all up by hand.  As the old Jewish grandmas have told me, it's not Latkes unless it's got a little grandma knuckle in it...  This isn't kimchi unless it's got "Mommy hand taste" in it. I am serious! Go ask your Korean friends! This no shens!

  Then we put the lid on it, and put it somewhere in the house for a few days.  I left mine on the kitchen counter for 3 days.  I advise not putting it in the bedroom, because people will wonder who died or the bathroom, because of that episode of mythbusters about toothbrushes in the bathroom.

When you taste it after three days, it may or may not be at the "Peak" of kimchiness, but at that point I put it in the mason jars and put it in my fridge, because it will always continue to ferment in your refrigerator.
Eat with rice, and enjoy! stores for about a month, and you will taste the transition in the taste as it gets older.  It may have lost the bitter finish, but it is replaced by one that is truly flowery tasting.

Wait, what's that you say?  I never put any amounts, or measurements?  Hey... You're right.
Welp, That's how many of these grandma recipes go.
We'll just have to try it until we get the measurement right.  It all depends if you want it spicier, and your quantity of dandelions....   But at least you get the gist of the process and the ingredients involved.


  1. Hi. What's the Korean name for this kimchi?

  2. I have what my neighbors call "weeds" and I raise a garden without herbicides and pesticides. My weeds such as dandelions are the best in the world and don't cost $3.49 at the grocery for one pound and the bags are prepackaged and have this gas pumped into it to keep the greens fresher looking. Me, I just go out my back door and start harvesting. I also use the flowers to make a wine and sometimes a tea. Gathering these precious greens was a right of passage when you were big enough to go out to the fields as a child with grandma and other neighbor ladies to gather the first greens of the season. I think of this each time I collect this gift of nature.

  3. This is so awesome. I have SO many dandelions in my garden and I love kimchi. Thanks for the inspiration!