Second day - you can eat it like an oil--free salad.
Napa cabbage is a typical winter vegetable but in California, it is still available. It's not as sweet like the winter napa but it's fine for making asazuke, quick pickles. I found a nice size Napa at Wholefoods. The pickle I make only takes a few days.You can start eating it like a salad from the second day forward, and reaches its peak on the 5th or 6th day. Before pickling, I prep it by letting the cut napa cabbage leaves dry in the open air for about a day. This brings out their sweetness. You can just let them sit on your kitchen counter top.
Drying the Napa Cabbage
Pouring the brine over the cut napa cabbage.
Putting the 3kg weight on the napa cabbage. I have had this pickling
device for nearly 20 years. It still works like new.
1 Napa cabbage
2 cups of water
Salt to equal 2% of the Napa cabbage weight
3 inches - konbu seaweed
3 dried red chili peppers, seeded
Put a cross incision at the bottom of the cabbage, about 4 inches deep. Using your hands, tear the cabbage apart. Slice each quarter again vertically.
Prepare the brine with the measured water and salt. Slice the konbu seaweed into thin strip. Seed the chili peppers. Cut in halves.
Set the napa leaves in the pickling box. The leaves should face the center. Add some chili peppers and konbu. Then make the next layer of napa cabbage. Repeat until you use up all the cabbage. Pour the brine. Put the lid on and refrigerate.
Turn the pickle everyday, rotating the bottom napa cabbage with the top napa cabbage. The bottom ones will be more pickled than the top ones. They will get slightly gooey from the konbu seaweed. Don't wash it off, it is what gives the napa cabbage good flavor. So do the chilis.
Keep refrigerated. Lasts for about a week. I like to sprinkle the cut napa with dried bonito flakes, and serve the pickles with soy sauce. With a bowl of brown rice, I was in heaven today.
To serve, squeeze excess water, using your hands. Cut into bite size pieces and serve.
Bonito flakes and soysauce make a nice accompaniment.