kimchi – time to spice things up a bit

Vegas was awesome! As predicted, it was all about the food. Four nights – four countries. China at the Bellagio, Italy and France at the Venetian and USA at Mandalay Bay. Each different and all fabulous! I’ve come home completely inspired and gnashing at the bit to get back in the kitchen.

I’ve decided to ease myself from my Italian comfort zone and start playing around with some Asian cookery. Not to worry – I never stray for long! I’m fascinated with the loads of ingredients I’ve never heard of and will probably never be able to pronounce. It’s time to shake things up a bit so here goes.

Kimchi, as far as I can tell, is a spicy condiment added to other dishes for heat. While I was trolling around searching for inspiration, I kept seeing ‘kimchi’ in the ingredient lists for delicious looking Korean food.  After sighting number seven, I did a Wikipedia search to find out what it was. As soon as I saw a picture of it, I realized that I’d eaten it before without knowing what it was called. It’s available commercially but given that homemade is better in every other’s country’s food stuffs, I’ve decided kimchi will be too!

I read a ton of recipes before settling on this straight forward approach from the kitchn.com blog So, here we go. In two weeks we’ll have a taste. Fingers crossed…

KIMCHI slightly adapted from thekitchn.com

2 lb Napa cabbage
¼ cup sea salt
Water
6 cloves of garlic, grated
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) I used the powder form
1 lb daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks You’ll find this white radish in the Asian section of your supermarket.
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

THE STEPS:

  • Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters then remove the cores.
  • Cut each quarter crosswise into 1 inch-wide strips and place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage.
  • Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften.
  • Add water to cover the cabbage.
  • Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy.
  • Let stand for 2 hours.
  • Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 20 minutes.
  • Gently squeeze dry and set aside.
  • Mix the garlic, ginger, sugar, and water in a large bowl until it forms a smooth paste.
  • Add the gochugaru
  • Add the squeeze-dried cabbage, daikon and scallions.
  • Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are completely coated.
  • Pack the kimchi into a mason jar, pressing down on the vegetables so that they are tightly packed.
  • Leave at least 1-inch of headspace. The space between the top of the brine and the lid.
  • Seal the jar with a tightly fitted lid.
  • Let the jar stand at room temperature for 3 days.
  • Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean spoon to keep them submerged under the brine
  • You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid. Apparently, this is normal!
  • Refrigerate after day three and leave to ripen for 2 weeks

THE LOVE: I highly recommend using gloves while you’re mixing the kimchi. The salt in the cabbage will dry out your hands and the paste will stain them.

click here for printable recipe

one year ago: roasted butternut squash and quinoa salad

two years ago: lemon and mascarpone gnocchi

Thanks for reading.