The Princess was relishing her time on the coast, where the air was fresh and balmy. Each seaside village the ragged group of rebels visited invited them into their huts for meals and recountings of adventures on the sea. Here there was no sign of the war and hunger which ravaged the north.
“Don’t get too excited,” the rebel leader told her. “Your father and his band of officials are trying to bring the south strictly under their control. There’s an army headed down here as we speak.”
She sighed. “Must you ruin everything?”
He laughed. “Fine. Just enjoy all the great culture and cuisine of the southerners and take that back with you.”
“Can I take back some of this kimchi?” asked the Princess, munching on a piece of fermented cabbage. “This is much better than anything we have in the palace.” They had come upon a ceremonial uncovering of winter kimchi pots in the last town they had stopped through. The young man had told her of the fall kimchi-making, or gimjang, festivals, where village folk all over the country would gather for three days of preparing cabbage and other vegetables to store in deep earthenware pots below the ground for winter. Now, in spring, all along the countryside villagers were digging up pots of perfectly cured cabbage. The last village they had visited had sent them off with a couple gallons of kimchi, and every meal now featured the crunchy, tingly banchan, punchy with fresh oysters and baby shrimp from the sea.
“Pace yourself,” said the rebel, as she took another bite. “You’re going to turn into a giant cabbage at this rate.”
The princess grinned at him. “I’ve heard in some places they even make pajeon out of this.”
“That’s right,” said the rebel. “In fact the next town we’re visiting specializes in kimchi pancakes.”
The Princess’s eyes lit up.
“At the rate we’re going we’re going to turn you into a chef before we turn you into a rebel,” said the young man.
The Princess laughed. “Would that be such a bad thing? I don’t think you could give me a deeper appreciation of my own country and people than by exposing me to our full range of cuisine. You know what they say, the way to a Princess’s heart is through her stomach.” As she realized what she’d said, the Princess blushed, and so did the rebel leader. He mumbled something and excused himself to ready the band for their next trip.
Read more of the Princess & Rebel Saga:
- Part 1: Pajeon (pancake) in the Cave
- Part 2: Mandoo (dumplings) at the Village
- Part 3: Mandooguk (dumpling soup) in the Woods
- Part 4: Kalbi Tang (beef short rib soup) in the Mountains
- Part 5: Deep Fried Beef Tendon in the South
- 2 napa cabbages
- 2 cups sea salt
- 1 onion
- 1 Asian or 2 Bartlett pears
- 1 apple
- 2 whole heads of garlic
- 2 tb fresh ginger
- 5 red bell peppers (optional, omit for AIP)
- 1 white daikon radish
- 3 whole packs of scallions
- ⅓ cup salted/fermented krill/shrimp or this
- For shellfish alternatives, try 2 tb fish sauce or small dried anchovies
- Quarter the cabbages, rinse well.
- Sprinkle salt over each leaf of cabbage. Leave cabbage to sit with salt for 3-4 hours until wilted.
- While cabbages are wilting, add the other ingredients (except radish, krill, and scallion) to a food processor/blender and process to make the marinade.
- Grate the radish using a mandolin and chop scallions. Add to marinade, along with shrimp and 1 tb sea salt.
- After cabbages have wilted, rinse them with water and drain. Cover each cabbage leaf with the marinade, then rough chop them into 1-2-inch pieces.
- Store in a glass jar or kimchee container at room temperature for 2-3 days, then move to fridge.