This delicious, spicy, tangy baby bok choy kimchi is so quick to make with no fermentation required! It’s Whole30 and vegan-friendly, and it’s an easy bachan when you need something right away.
Growing up in a Korean household, there was and is always kimchi in our fridge to eat with just about anything. However, there are times when you need to whip up something a little different or want a more fresh and less sour banchan (Korean side dishes you serve with rice) that still has some heat. That’s when geotjeori like this baby bok choy kimchi can be made super quickly and easily to serve the day of.
What is Geotjeori?
Geotjeori, which means “lightly salted” in Korea, is basically kimchi that’s made quickly without any fermentation to serve right away. It’s usually made with vegetables like napa cabbage, lettuce, daikon radish, or in this case, baby bok choy. Because it’s not fermented, it can’t be stored for months like traditional kimchi. and it should be consumed within 3 weeks. It’s a great way to enjoy a small amount of kimchi in a short time, because it’s much less time consuming to make than regular kimchi!
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Quick Baby Bok Choy Kimchi Recipe
This quick kimchi recipe uses baby bok choy, which has tender crunchy leaves that are the perfect texture for making kimchi. Baby bok choy is salted to wilt slightly, then coated in the most wonderful kimchi sauce that’s flavor-packed from onion, apple, garlic, ginger, gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), rice vinegar, and fish sauce. The result is a refreshing, crunchy, and perfectly spicy dish that’s perfect with any Korean meal.
Bok Choy Geotjeori Ingredients
- baby bok choy: I like to use use baby bok choy, which is shorter and rounder than regular bok choy. You can use regular bok choy, but I would cut the leaves into smaller, bite-sized pieces first.
- apple: It’s also common to use a pear as a sweetener, if you want to use that instead.
- fish sauce: This is my favorite brand of fish sauce. However, you can substitute with soy sauce if you are vegan or don’t have it on hand. Tamari is a great option as well if you are gluten free. A paleo and Whole30 substitute would be coconut aminos.
- rice wine vinegar
- gochugaru: These Korean chili pepper flakes can be found at Asian grocery stores or even online. I don’t recommend substituting with anything else as it has very distinct flavor quintessential to Korean cooking.
- sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are completely optional and really depends on your preference. I know some Koreans who use it in their geotjeori and some who don’t. I personally love it on this bok choy kimchi. You can also top with some chopped scallions as well.
How to Make Bok Choy Kimchi
- Slice the baby bok choy lengthwise into quarters, leaving the stem intact. Toss with salt to coat evenly, and let this sit for 30-40 minutes so the bok choy leaves can soften and wilt.
- While the bok choy sits, make the kimchi sauce: combine onion, apple, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, and water in a blender. Blend until creamy.
- Add gochugaru to the sauce mixture and stir to combine.
- Rinse the bok choy thoroughly with water a few times to remove salt and any dirt. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the kimchi sauce puree over the bok choy leaves. Using gloved hands, toss to coat gently to make sure the leaves don’t bruise.
- Taste to adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds, if using.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since this kimchi isn’t fermented, it should be eaten with 2-3 weeks of making. Store finished product in a glass container.
You can do quick ferment of up to 24 hours at room temperature. However, I don’t recommend any longer as the bok choy can get bitter in flavor and mushy in texture.
Other Korean dishes you may like…
- Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim Recipe)
- Mayak Eggs – Korean Marinated Eggs (Soy Free, Gluten Free)
- Fluffy Korean Steamed Eggs (Gyeran Jjim Recipe)
- Kkakdugi – Korean Radish Kimchi (Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Vegan Option)
- Korean Radish Soup (Muguk)
Baby Bok Choy Kimchi (Quick Geotjeori Kimchi)
- Slice the bok choy lengthwise into quarters, then toss with salt to coat evenly. Let this mixture sit for 30-40 minutes so the bok choy leaves can soften and wilt.
- While the bok choy sits, combine onion, apple, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, and water in a blender. Blend until creamy.
- Add gochugaru to the mixture and stir to combine.
- Rinse the bok choy thoroughly with water a few times to remove salt and any dirt. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Pour the kimchi sauce over the bok choy leaves. Using gloved hands, toss to coat gently to make sure the leaves don't bruise.
- Taste to adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds, if using. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, in glass jars or container.
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