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Monkeyfister's picture

Made some Kimchi today. It is really simple, and like any lacto-fermented product, it is very, very good for you... Especially this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere! Cheap simple, and versatile!

I didn't follow a specific recipe, as every recipe I found seemed to differ on a few small details, so I blended several of the best recipes I could find. Here's what I did:

1-- head of Napa Cabbage
1-- bunch of Bok Choy
1-- full bud of Garlic, finely chopped
2-- Carrots, quarter, and chop into 1" chunks (optional)
1--(2-inch) piece of ginger root
1-- heaping tsp of sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce or Korean salted shrimp
1-- small Daikon Radish, peeled and grated
1-- bunch of green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup Korean chili powder, or crushed/powdered red pepper
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/2 gallon water

Core and chop Cabbage, Carrots, Daikon and Bok Choy into bite-sized chucks-- coarse cut.

Make brine with 1/2 cup salt to 1/2 gallon of cold water. Soak all in brine for two-to-four hours. With brine this strong, two hours is just fine.

While veggies are soaking, make sauce.

In food processor (I have a wee little processor for little jobs) combine ginger, peppers (or hot Korean pepper paste), garlic, fish sauce. Pulse until everything is fine and blended. Sorta pasty... but loose. Put in fridge to marry flavors. A tablespoon of Oyster sauce is a tasty bonus, if you have it. I add more fish sauce if I don't have any on hand.

When the veggie brine soak is finished, drain, and rinse veggies once, and drain again. Toss into a fairly large bowl. Toss in Sauce mixture. Chop Green Onions into 1-inch chunks and toss in, add the sugar. Using gloved hands (lots of hot pepper here), or a spoon, mix veggies and sauce thoroughly.

Pour into a large, loosely covered jar (I use the jars I use for making three-day pickles, but just bought a cool, new container-- pics tomorrow), or even a ziplock bag or two, remove air from the bags, or weigh down top of veggies so they are submerged in sauce-- add a little fish sauce as necessary. Pack the veggies TIGHT, and you'll see that the little bit of sauce added will easily cover the veggies. Cover container loosely, and put in a cool, dark place 40-50-degrees F., or in fridge. Let ferment for at least three days-- allow a small space for fermenting gasses to escape.

After three days... is ready to eat. If you used bags, transfer to jars now. Keep in fridge. Stays good for at least two-three months... Eat at any point you'd like. At some point, it'll get pretty strong-- spicy Saurkraut... Just pour it into an old towel, and rinse, squeeze and repeat to taste... add to fried rice, or make Spring Rolls or Egg Rolls with it. If you see a pink scum developing-- throw away at once.

I am SURE some good Korean will tell me that my recipe sucks. I look forward to an easier or better recipe. In the meantime-- this one is pretty good, and very simple. Kimchi is one of the most perfect foods we have. It can be made with any Cabbage... results may vary, mainly in taste and texture. It's an acquired taste, but making it yourself is too cheap not to try and experiment a bit, and hopefully, you'll find that you like it at some point in the fermentation process.

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Submitted by Lex on

Once the taste is acquired, kimchi becomes perfect at breakfast, lunch, dinner and anywhere in between.

As far as i've seen, you can kimchi just about any vegetable. I hate pickled cucumbers in the whiteperson style, but i love some cucumber kimchi. Carrots are another great base for the process. Standard kimchi makes an excellent base for soup (kimchi jjigae).

And you've inspired me, monkeyfister. I'm going to make some and figure it out to my specifications...i.e. deep love for kimchi. I might as well as it's next to impossible to source locally for me.

The chili pepper didn't find its way to the Korean peninsula until the 16th Century. Before that, kimchi was white. It's uncommon today, but quite good. I ate it at a Buddhist monastery for the New Year's meal. It should be enjoyed young, though, so that the cabbage is still crispy. It does not taste like saurkraut, so if you don't like spicy, it's worth a try without the red pepper paste.

I'm currently looking for kochu pepper seeds to grow. I can get kochojang (and it's not proper kimchi without Korean red pepper paste) but i wanna grow my own because i, theoretically, can.