Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kimchi redux

As I explained yesterday, I’m having a bit of a hiatus from the kitchen while we get caught up on leftovers. I have 2 or 3 things planned, but they will have to keep until at least tomorrow (which could mean a Friday post). In the meantime, I’m running a few older posts which did not receive comments (an earlier time in history when almost no one read my blog). These are recipes very near and dear to me. Kimchi is not for everyone, but if you like sauerkraut, I suggest you consider trying this more challenging version of cured cabbage.

Here goes:

If you love kimchi you will love this recipe. I’ve tried a couple of other ones over the years with mixed results. It was always edible, but based on my experience of having kimchi in Korean restaurants, this is the real McCoy.It comes from a book called “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz. It may not be still in print. I found it at my library after learning about it from something I read a few weeks ago. I’m sharing it because it’s worth it and this makes it easy for you to find.The curing time called for was a week. I considered it ready to eat after 2 ½ days. Every other recipe for kimchi I tried called for the mixture to sit out at room temperature for 24 hours and then be refrigerated. The cold slows the formation down and the key to keeping it warm is (as described) keeping the vegetation submerged in its own brine and covering the surface, thus avoiding contact with the air.If the fermentation idea piques your curiosity it’s worth your while to try to acquire a copy of the book. ALERT!; I just went to Ebay. There are multiple copies available there!I’ve adapted Sandor’s plan to suit what I had or could find. I didn’t have time to go to an Asian market to find daikon so I used his suggestion to substitute regular radishes. I didn’t include red chilis, rather ½ a Serrano pepper that was in my produce drawer in the fridge.Also, the picture shows the final product after jarring. I cured the cabbage in this soufflé dish. It was perfect for my needs.

Kimchi redux
1 lb. Chinese cabbage (napa or bok choi)
kosher salt
4 red radishes, sliced as fine as you can
1 medium carrot, sliced as fine as you can
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
½ Serrano pepper
3 tbsp grated ginger
2 or 3 scallions, finely chopped

Mix a brine of 4 cups water and 3 tbsp kosher or sea salt. Stir until the salt dissolves completely.

Coarsely chop the cabbage and combine with the radishes and carrot in a container you can cover with a plate or some such thing to keep everything below the surface of the liquid. Let it stand at room temperature a few hours or, better, overnight.

Turn the garlic, ginger, Serrano pepper, and scallions into a paste. I used an immersion blender with some of the brine.

Drain the cabbage, reserving the brine, and taste for saltiness. I chose to rinse it lightly. Combine the paste with the cabbage and toss to mix thoroughly.

Place the nascent kimchi in a glass or other non-reactive vessel. Add just enough brine to cover. Weigh it down in such a way that everything stays under the surface of the liquid. I used an odd but effective technique of filling a gallon-size freezer bag with water so that the base of the bag spread over the entire surface of the kimchi.


Mary said...

I'll have to try this. It doesn't sound quite so fire hot as some. I hope you are enjoying your hiatus from the kitchen. Take care. Blessings...Mary

Pam said...

I've never had kimchi but I think it sounds tasty.

Jenn said...

I do love kimchi but have never actually made it. I've seen this before and thought I'd give it a shot...but you know who won't eat it and I can't seem to make it just for me :)

Sook said...

I am impressed with your cooking skills - and am glad that you like kimchi!! This version of kimchi is one of my favorites. Yum!

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