Often, during the farming season there is very little time to cook and we make something very basic like a grilled cheese or egg sandwich for lunch (ok, it happens a lot). If there is kimchi on hand we will add it to the mix and all of a sudden lunch becomes exciting! The process of kimchi might be a little involved (although I was surprised that it didn’t take me more than an hour to prepare), but it’s a quick easy addition to future meals that makes all the difference. In Korean cuisine, this is a dish that is served with most if not all meals and I can understand why. It adds a lot of zesty flavour and spice to keep you wanting more. There is a never ending list of dishes you can serve kimchi alongside, but one of my favourite recipes recently was this kimchi fried rice found in Edible Vancouver magazine. So easy and so tasty!
I played around when using this recipe by adding zucchini to the mix. We have so much of it during the summer that I thought it would be cool to find yet another way to use this vehicle (the zucchini) to carry flavour. It turned out quite nicely, although I had quartered the zucchini lengthwise and next time I would instead use the mandolin instead. Treat the zucchini just as you do the cabbage in the recipe if you’d like to give it a try as well.
- Susanville* I used a mellow softneck garlic, but twice as much as what other recipes might suggest. I prefer the mellow flavour, but love how using more of it doesn’t overpower the dish.
- 6-7 lbs of Napa cabbage (2 small cabbages)
- 1 cup coarse sea salt
- 5 cups water
- 1 pound daikon or Korean radish
- 3 to 4 green onions
- 1 piece dashima or kelp (about 2 to 3 inch square)
- 1 tbsp rice powder
- 1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
- 1/4 cup minced saeujeot (salted shrimp)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 6 tbsp minced garlic *
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (mix black & white)
- 1 1/2 cup water or dashima (dried kelp) broth
You will also require:
- 2 large bowls or pots
- a large colander
- kitchen gloves
- 3/4 – 1 gallon airtight container or jar
Quarter each cabbage, cutting length-wise. Dissolve 1/2 cup of the salt in 5 cups of the water. Soak and clean each leaf of each quarter cabbage in the salt water and then lift it out to drain out the water into the 2nd empty bowl.
Then use the other half cup of salt to salt every part of the cabbages, especially the white meaty parts. Pour the salt water bath over top of the salted cabbages. Let the cabbage soak like this for 5 to 6 hours. Half way through flip the cabbages so that the ones on the bottom are on the top and vice versa.
Your cabbages have been soaking in the salt long enough when the white part of the cabbage is more flexible. Rinse the cabbages very well under water so that you get all the remnants of saltiness out. Drain the cabbage quarters by putting them upside down on a rack (cut side down).
In the meantime you can make the kelp (or dashima) broth by boiling the square of it in 1.5 cups of water. Boil for 5 minutes and then let the broth cool. Mix the rice powder into the kelp broth and simmer on low heat. The broth will thicken a little.
Mix the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, salted shrimp paste, fish sauce, sesame seeds and the kelp broth paste. Set aside.
Slice the radish into thin discs or cut julienne-style and cut the green onions diagonally into pieces about 1” long. Throw these into a bowl and add the garlicky-red pepper paste to the bowl and mix. Time to add the cabbage!
Coat the cabbage (every leaf) with the paste and when all cabbage is complete you are ready to begin the fermentation process. Stuff the cabbage into a jar and push down hard. Pour any remaining broth you may have and top up with water to ensure your kimchi is submerged. Push the kimchi around some more to ensure there are no air bubbles.
Put a lid on the jar and leave on your counter for about 24 hours. More or less depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Burp the jar every so often to let out the gases. Place a plate under the jar in case you don’t burp your jar in time and you get some leakage. After this fermentation process you should place the jar into your fridge and leave for 1-2 weeks to get the best flavour outcome.
Eat kimchi with everything.
This recipe was inspired by Hyosun’s blog post: Korean Bapsang
Photo by JS Gordon-Moran, www.