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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Easy kimchi


Easy kimchi

Kimchi!  What more needs to be said?  Maybe the fact that it is easier to make then you may have thought.  It has such amazing flavor, it is good for you, and after you make your first batch, you will be hooked.  You will never buy store kind again.  You control the heat too, so you can make just a little spicy or a lot.
I love the fact that the longer this sits, the better it tastes.  If you make it weekly, it requires little time, and you will never be out of a supply.
***BIG NOTE HERE***  IT IS KIMCHI, IT REQUIRES SALT.  YOU MAY BE TURNED OFF BY THE AMOUNT OF SALT USED, BUT REMEMBER THAT MOST OF IT IS WASHED OFF.  IT REALLY IS NEEDED TO WILT THE CABBAGE AND ALSO TO TENDERIZE AND FLAVOR IT.  I USE MUCH LESS THAN MOST RECIPES, AND AGAIN, A LOT IS WASHED OFF. 

Ingredients:

1 head of napa cabbage, (about 4 lbs)
1 1/2 cups daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchstick slices (thin, slices about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick)
5 green onions, washed and sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick slices (same as daikon radish)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed small
1/2 inch nob of ginger, peeled and smashed small
1 small fuji apple, cored and sliced into thin matchsticks.  Do not peel
4 tsp. kosher salt or course Korean sea salt if you can find it.
2-4 tablespoons Korean chili powder (mine looks like this) 
2 tablespoons raw sugar
Rubber gloves or tongs (this will be for mixing, don't use your bare hands)
1 large bowl
1 medium bowl
1 one quart jar with lid

The first thing you will do is to prepare the cabbage.  It will require the most prep time.
Cut in half, and then again into quarters.
Slice these into about 1 inch chunks.  You want them to be bite sized.  Put into a large strainer, and wash well in running water.  
Shake off best you can and place into your large bowl.  Sprinkle 2 tsp. of salt over the top.  With your hands, mix the cabbage around well.  Gently massage the cabbage at the same time.  Sprinkle the other 2 tsp. of salt over the top and mix around again.  Now cover the top with a small plate and press down.  Set aside and let sit for 1 hour.  Remove plate, and mix around well.  There should be some water in the bottom of the bowl.  Mix that into the cabbage and put the plate back on top, press it down and let sit another hour.
After 1 more hour, drain the water from the bowl, and put the bowl in the sink. Run cold water into the bowl, and mix around with your hands.  You really want to rinse this cabbage good.  I fill the bowl 4 times, and really swish the cabbage around to get all the salt out.  After 4 times, drain the cabbage in your strainer.  Set aside to drain.
In your other bowl, combine the radish, carrot, green onion, apple, sugar and spices. Mix with your gloved hands or tongs.  You want to really mix well.  Take your time, and really massage it well.
Now add this mix to your cabbage and start mixing again.  You want to spend about 10 minutes on mixing this.  Really get the mix and cabbage together.
Set aside for 20 minutes.  This will give you time to clean your area and get your jar ready.
Wash and dry your jar and lid.  With the tongs or with your gloved hands, stuff that cabbage mixture into the jar.  It will all fit, you really need to push it down. It is a messy job, but keep going.  You don't want air in the jar, so use a fork or spoon and really press the cabbage into every space available. 
Any liquid on left in the bowl should go into the jar too.  You want to only have maybe 1/4 inch of room on top.  I wait until the end to pour the liquid on top.  If you need a little more, just put about a 1/4 c water in the bowl and swish around, then fill the jar.
With a damp paper towel, wipe the lip of the jar and just lay the lid on top.  If it is a two piece lid, just place the sealing part on top and barely screw the top on.
Your kimchi is now ready to ferment.  So place it on a plate or bowl, and in a semi warm area on your counter, away from direct light.
Make sure the lid is loose.  It will expand, and the plate/bowl below is important to catch the liquid. (it is a good sign to have leakage)
 Check it one time a day.  It will take 1 1/2-3 days to ferment.  Taste it after 1 day and then again the next day.  When you are happy with the flavor, clean outside of the jar and close the lid tight.  Place in fridge.  It will continue to ferment, but much slower.  IT GETS BETTER WITH AGE.  But it will be delicious after just 1 1/2 days.
***NOTE***  Do not close that lid until you are ready to put into fridge, or you will end up with a lovely kimchi wallpaper pattern in your kitchen and an amazing smell to go with it. :)  JUST COVER, IT NEEDS TO BREATHE!!
It is a lot of instructions, but just read through it and it really goes fast.  After your first time making it, you will see how fast it actually goes.
I love my kimchi on rice.  It is the easiest and most enjoyable for me.  I do make kimchi pancakes, and roll into sushi too. :)  I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do.





1 comment:

  1. In making both the red and the white kimchee, I notice that in the red you use a total of 4 teaspoons of salt, while in the white you use 1/2 cup. I'm not worried about it, it gets so well-washed. Just curious why the difference? I make quarts of sauerkraut (many flavors!) at a time, so I'm used to the salting/wilting/perservative concept, the kraut just doesn't have the salt washed off during the process.

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