Back (With A Vengeance!): Kimchi

Bottled

I’m back and may or may not be better than ever after a longish vacation. Anyway…

Kimchi is one of my favorite foods and conveniently enough also appears on the original Summer Foodie to-do list. I did it and although I haven’t tried it yet (update when I do) I’ll share some pictures and thoughts about making the stuff. You should know, to start with, that kimchi is spicy (mad chilis), healthy (fermented cabbage, mmmhm), cheap, delicious and Koreans eat it with everything.I don’t remember the exact recipe but here’s the basic outline:

1. Cube some cabbage (Chinese, napa, something lighter in color) into ~2 inch cubes, it’ll fall apart into individual pieces while you do this. Put all the cabbage in a big bowl and cover it with tap water, add about 2 tablespoons of salt and mix the whole thing up with your hands until you don’t feel much salt at the bottom of the bowl. Let this sit for at least an hour and then remove the cabbage from the water, BUT DON’T EMPTY THE BOWL. You’ll use some of this salty brine later.

2. Prepare everything else. Shred or finely slice (I use a vegetable peeler) some daikon radishes, carrots, even a cucumber if you want and set them aside. Mince a bunch of garlic (like 5 cloves) and slice a few more into thin slivers. Mince a chili if you have it on hand, jalapenos, serranos, habaneros, thai chilis, they’ll all do, just make sure you’re careful and monitoring the amount of spice you’re adding. It should be spicy, like really spicy, but not dangerous.

3. Combine everything you just chopped and minced with the cabbage. Mix it up with your hands and add in 3 or 4 more tablespoons of salt as you go.

Raw

4. Since this is a pickled dish it requires canning of some sort, I used 1 large canning jar and a sort of glass tupperware I found to store the kimchi while it pickled. Rather than try to stuff wet ingredients into the jars I jammed as much of the vegetable mix into the jars (it fit rather perfectly but you can always add another jar) and then made a spicy vinegar mix to pour over the dry vegetables. The vinegar mix was: 1 tablespoon red chili paste (again, it’s hot), 1 teaspoon chili powder mix, half a cup of white vinegar, some salt and pepper. After I poured the mix in I filled the rest with the leftover cabbage brine and closed the lid. Before storing it you should shake the jar to release any trapped air bubbles (leave it open for a while if you can) and fill to cover with more vinegar and brine, to taste.

It’s been about a week since I made this but I haven’t dared to try it yet. We shall see.

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