I’ll admit, the thought of it was very intimidating.
I was picturing something very exotic, or spending all day in the kitchen over large vats of something or other. Requiring group of friends working feverishly to complete it in one day.
Or the need for hard to find equipment or ingredients.
Trouble was, I guess I didn’t really even know what Kimchi was.
What it comes down to is pretty much Korean style sauerkraut.
Something people have been making for years with little more than a bucket or crock, some salt and a big rock!
So why was I getting myself in a tizzy over it? Why not just give it a try? Cabbage is pretty cheap, if it doesn’t work out…..oh well.
I’m almost embarrassed at just how easy it really is!
Then again, fermenting of food has been around a LONG time. That’s how many cultures have survived by being able to preserve the bounty of the Summer for the long Winter ahead.
And then don’t even get me started with just how very good for you it is! Talk about probiotic!! This stuff is where it’s at!!
So not even knowing where to start, I did what any smart person would do, I looked up some recipes on the internet! Admittedly, there were several and true, some did sound a little exotic and involved but I managed to find one that made sense.
Many of the recipes also called for “fish sauce” or “shrimp paste”, two things I actively avoid due to my shell-fish allergy but found no trouble working around that.
There were many many recipes, but I finally decided on this one: Homemade Vegan Kimchi
I did not have, nor had the time to look for, the Kochukaru ( Korean chili powder) so I improvised on that.
I also didn’t make as huge of a batch as this recipe appears to make, in case it was disgusting and then I would have went to all the trouble and then would have to toss it!!
Here is what I used:
- 1/2 large napa cabbage
- 1/2 (maybe less) daikon radish
- 1/2 red onion
- Salt ( Kosher or sea)
- 4 green onions
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 2 birdseye Thai chilis ( small red ones)
- 1 tbsp smokie paprika
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
I peeled the leaves off the cabbage one at a time until I had taken off about half of them. Use your judgement depending on how big your cabbage is. After washing them, chop them into about 2 inch chunks,
I used only 1/2 of the daikon because it was quite large. Peel it and then cut it into strips. Smaller than French fries but bigger than match sticks.
Slice the red onion into full circle rounds about 1/4 inch thick.
Place all of these ingredients in a large bowl and then sprinkle generously with salt and toss to make sure everything is getting some salt on it.
Then let it sit for a few hours until it gets quite whilty and releases some liquid.
When the cabbage mixture is ready to go, it is time to make the paste.
Add all of the other ingredients ( except the green part of the green onions, just chop and mix those in with the cabbage, but do it now, not during the wilting part) to the food processor and combine till it makes a nice paste. ( Add a bit of the cabbage water if it is too thick)
Then add the paste to the wilted cabbage and toss well until everything is nicely coated.
Then carefully shove it all into a super clean Mason jar ( or more). The other recipe suggests poking it down with a chop stick. Really pack it in there, making sure there aren’t any air pockets. And then pour in any remaining liquid from the bowl that will fit.
Seal it up tight and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours, then into the fridge for at least a week before testing it!
ONE WEEK LATER:
Time to check out the magic!!
A huge word of caution here that no one seems to mention in any of the recipes I saw…….
Kimchi is ALIVE!! Fermenting is done by live ( but very friendly) bacteria and so after they have done their work on your cabbage, they are eager to show you!!
So when you open your new Kimchi for the first time, DO IT OVER THE SINK! It is almost like a bottle of soda that has been shook! And it WILL spew everywhere!!
I had NO idea!!
Once that nonsense was over and I safely got the lid off…….I gave it a sniff. It had a strong odor and it wasn’t particularly appealing, but the time of truth had come. Time to taste it.
I was fully ready to dislike it, but instead I was surprised, amazed and delighted by the taste of something that I quite honestly can’t say as I have tasted before! I was expecting something tangy, vinegary or pickley. But it was none of these.
Instead, it was the most delightful mixture of salty, sour and a little bit spicy.
I was absolutely delighted with my experiment!
Since then, I have become obsessed with my Kimchi!! As the lady in the commercial says “I put that @#%$@* on EVERYTHING!”
It is particularly wonderful for livening up any old boring sandwich!! Fabulous as a burger topping, adds zing to any rice bowl type dish. Add it to salads or as a condiment with eggs or omelets. I could go on and on and keep trying it with everything!
Just DON’T heat it! It is a live food, heating it will destroy all of its goodness!!
So don’t be afraid, give it a try yourself.
I would be very interested to hear just you make out!