OK, so the Kimchi has had a couple days by the leaky walls and door in our front hall, keeping it cool and dark. There’s now a ton of liquid (it’s almost totally immersed) and you can spot the bubbles in it. Fermentation was the goal, and we’ve got fermentation.
Why are so many good things fermented? Beer, wine, bread (sourdough!), beer, kimchi, yogurt…it goes on and on….
I’ll layout the recipe I used in a minute – it was based on a slew of recipes out there, the two main ones being David Lebovitz’s and one on Kitchen Wench (both fantastic blogs if you haven’t seen them.)
A few thoughts:
- I didn’t have a chance to hunt down Korean chili powder, which is one thing common to all the recipes I found. Additionally, it’s been about a year since I’ve had kimchi at a Korean restaurant, so my taste buds are not in prime shape for a comparison. I used cayenne with some paprika added. No clue if the heat/flavor levels were similar or not.
- Some of the recipes used rice powder for thickening. I wasn’t sure about it at the start, but now in the presence of the spicy soup that the cabbage is soaking in, I see the purpose and will probably use it next time. It would be nice to have some more clinginess in the sauce.
- It will be interesting to see how the flavors come together and maybe even mellow after some time in the refrigerator.
Please, kimchi, if you have a heart, just chill out a little bit, because the fried rice I had with you earlier this evening is still punishing me.
It’s very strong – not just spicy (but it’s damn spicy) but the onions, the fish sauce, the sourness, it’s all there. Tonight I just chopped some into some leftover rice that was frying, added a little bit of soy sauce and some shredded scrambled egg.
The recipe, and I stress, this is what I made based on other kimchi recipes out there – I’m not claiming any authenticity here:
- Take one big head of napa cabbage, cut off the base, cut it into 4-8 slices lengthwise and pull the leaves apart. Soak in a gallon of water that has about 1/2 C of kosher salt dissolved in it. I let mine sit for about 4 hours. Drain, rinse and dry – I wrapped the leaves in paper towels and they spent the next 2 days waiting for me to do something with them.
- Put the cabbage in a giant bowl, and pile the following on top:
- 6-8 scallions (green parts cut in 1/2 inch pieces, white ends minced)
- 1/2 cayenne + 2 TB paprika – if you have Korean chili powder, which I will next time, use it!
- 1/3 C fish sauce
- 7 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 pear, minced
- Daikon radish, about 8 inches of it shredded with a cheese grater
- 2 tsp sugar
Mix the whole mess up and pack it into a nice clean jar with a tight lid. As mentioned, I put it in a cool, dark place for 2 days and now it’s in the fridge.
How close I got to real, authentic kimchi, I don’t know. But whatever this is tastes great and I’m looking forward to a couple months of this jar of spicy, sour cabbage hiding in the fridge, waiting to attack.