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Kimchi

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Yields 2 cups kimchi paste; 6 to 8 cups kimchi

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 109

Homemade kimchi paste provides the flavor base for this tangy, assertive condiment. Use leftover paste to make another batch of kimchi or add it to stews, soups, or sauces for a spicy kick.

For the kimchi paste
  • 1 cup gochu garu (coarse Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 3 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 medium apple, unpeeled, cored and quartered
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled
  • 6 to 8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz. (about 1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
For the kimchi
  • 1 (2-lb.) napa cabbage, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 8 sections, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch rectangular pieces (about 15 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
  • 3/4 lb. daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 8 to 10 scallions, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, cut into matchsticks 2 oz. (about 2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Make the kimchi paste

In a medium bowl, combine the gochu garu with 1/2 cup water. Add the sugar and salt and mix well. Set aside.

In a food processor, purée the apple, onion, anchovies, garlic, and ginger until smooth. Add the purée to the red pepper paste and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate the paste in an airtight container for at least 24 hours before using. It will keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.

Prepare the kimchi

Put a third of the cabbage in an extra-large bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tsp. of the salt. Top with another third of the cabbage and sprinkle with 2 tsp. salt. Repeat with the remaining cabbage and 2 tsp. salt. Put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cabbage and then weigh down with four 1-lb. cans. Let the cabbage rest at room temperature for 3 hours.

Remove the cans, transfer the cabbage to a colander, rinse briefly, and let drain. Clean the bowl. Take handfuls of the cabbage, squeeze out any excess liquid, and put the squeezed cabbage in the bowl; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the daikon, the remaining 1 tsp. salt, and the sugar. Let rest for 15 minutes.

With your hands, rub the daikon strips until they’re soft and pliable. Drain the daikon in a colander. Wipe out the bowl. Gather the daikon into a ball and squeeze out any liquid; return to the bowl.

Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger to the daikon and toss to distribute. Add the daikon mixture to the cabbage and toss again.

Open a gallon-size-zip-top bag; set aside. Wearing disposable plastic gloves, use your hands to mix 3/4 cup of the kimchi paste with the cabbage mixture. Be sure the cabbage mixture is thoroughly coated with the kimchi paste; season to taste with salt.

Put the cabbage in the plastic bag. Remove and discard the gloves. Seal the bag three-quarters of the way.

Starting from the bottom of the bag, roll the bag forward to expel air. Try to prevent liquid from seeping out of the bag. When you have almost reached the top, seal the bag completely. Unroll the bag and put it on a baking sheet. Let the kimchi ferment at room temperature for 24 hours.

Transfer the kimchi and its liquid to a sterile wide-mouth 1.5-liter (or half-gallon) glass jar and refrigerate. (The kimchi should be stored in one jar, not divided into multiple jars.) It will be ready after 24 hours, though some may prefer the more fermented taste the kimchi acquires after 2 to 3 days. Kimchi will last in the refrigerator for at least 4 weeks.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1/2 cup; Calories (kcal): 100; Fat (g): fat g 3.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 30; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 0.5; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 12; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1330; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 15; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This makes delicious, fresh, juicy, crunchy, pungent kimchi that is as good as what you can buy (and I live in a big city with lots of Korean markets) and much cheaper. Also, once you have a batch of spice paste in the refrigerator (it keeps for months!) it's trivial to whip up a fresh batch.

After years of eating various types of kimchi, I decided to take the challenge and make it. A visit to a great Seattle market, Uwajimaya, got me started. A young Korean produce grocer was king enough to tell me the pros and cons of this recipe from his perspective but overall, encouraged me to go forth. He said his family had just done 50 liters, but he only helps cut the 4 cases of cabbage, as he is not yet worthy to make it himself. This store had a 1 pound bag of hot pepper powder (small flakes actually), and he had me buy a bag of coarse natural sea salt, more coarse than kosher. First, I did the kimchi paste on a Friday night. Sunday morning, (which I'll call Day 1) I did the kimchi. The instructions are very straight forward, but you'll need to take your time with all the cutting to match stick size. As directed in the recipe, following the last mixing, I tasted for seasonings when done and just grinned. It was awesome! Now, into the plastic bag to ferment at room temperature. Day 2, I spooned the mixture into a half gallon glass jar. A tasting at this point revealed no fermentation but a textural change, and a wonderful mellowing of flavors already. It's pretty potent smelling and I did not have a 100% airtight container, so I wrapped plastic wrap around the top and sealed with a rubber band, then put the glass top on. Today is now day 5, and my morning is exploring the web for a recipe using my home made kimchi. I can't wait and I'll return to this post over the next three weeks and share my observations and explorations. May thanks to Debra Samuels for the recipe, and congrats to the photographer and food stylist who stopped me dead in my tracks with the great photo. One look and I said, I have to make that!

Good instruction. Two recommendations. First, substitute anchovy with salted shrimp pickle (see here: http://www.koreanhomecooking.com/2008/02/salted-shrimp-sauce-sae-wu-jut.html). Second, add raw oyster to make it more south-west style or add asian pear to make it more sweet.

Good instruction. Two recommendations. First, substitute anchovy with salted shrimp pickle (see here: http://www.koreanhomecooking.com/2008/02/salted-shrimp-sauce-sae-wu-jut.html). Second, add raw oyster to make it more south-west style or add asian pear to make it more sweet.

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