Kimchi Apple Salad

October 23, 2012

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This salad is so simple to make and so satisfying to eat. It comes up in regular circulation on my lunchtime table, with slight variations according to what ingredients I have on hand. The basic equation is this: mild crunchy greens plus peanuts and kimchee equals delicious.

This version has a few additions. Let me break it down for you:

Kimchi (or kimchee) is Korea’s answer to coleslaw and sauerkraut. Though fermented, the vegetables in it retain a fresh and perky personality, and the whole dish is tart, salty, and red-pepper spicy (there are mild versions on the market too, if you prefer). You can find Kimchi in the refrigerated section of even the smallest Asian markets or any good, diverse grocery, or you can make your own which is, once you get the hang of it, not as hard as you might think. (Some day I’ll post a recipe.)

Today’s kimchi salad contains romaine lettuce, shredded green cabbage, carrots, cilantro, red bell pepper, avocado, Fuji apple, peanuts, and the last few spoons from a jar of my favorite kimchi, Sunja’s medium spicy, mixed in well. No other dressing is necessary, though don’t let me stop you if you want a splash of sweet mirin (Japanese cooking wine), toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and/or a squeeze of lime.

Other ingredients that go well here: Napa cabbage, cucumber, green pepper, Granny Smith apples, grapes, alfalfa or mung bean sprouts, string beans, peas, scallions, and edamame. If you’re aiming for entirely raw, try substituting raw cashews for the peanuts.

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