Can you say – Kim-chi?
Kimchi (better than sauerkraut?) is a national Korean dish consisting of fermented chili peppers and vegetables, usually based on Napa cabbage. Some of the most common ingredients include Chinese (Napa)cabbage, radish, garlic, red pepper, spring(green) onion, ginger, salt, and sugar. While kimchi is generally identified internationally as Chinese cabbage fermented with a mixture of red pepper, garlic, ginger, and salted fish sauce, several types of kimchi exists, including regional, seasonal and even family variations. There are variants, including kkakdugi, based on oriental white radish.
Before you beat me up.. I have included a mostly traditional Kimchi farther down the page.
No vegetable is safe from finding it’s way into a Kimchi pot. What ever vegetable is used it must be cut,chopped or grated into bite size pieces before being processed into a kimchi dish. Chard (Swiss chard), carrots, cucumber, leek, radishes(quarter), oriental radish, beet and turnip greens are all good added to your Kinchi pot.
Easy Starter Kimchi Recipe
Head of Napa cabbage – about one pound
¼-⅓ cup red chili pepper flakes
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
3-4 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons anchovy or fish sauce (optional)
½ yellow onion
½ ripe apple
½ ripe Korean pear
Separate cabbage leaves and chop into bite-size pieces.
Dissolve a quarter cup of sea salt in a bowl of warm water then pour salt water over cabbage leaves. Give cabbage a gentle toss to distribute salt water. Allow salted cabbage to sit for at least four hours.
Give cabbage a good rinse to remove excess salt then transfer cabbage to a large bowl.
* Combine a quarter cup of fine red chili pepper flakes with warm water, stir gently with a spoon to create a red chili paste, then transfer chili paste to cabbage.
Add minced garlic, minced ginger, green onions, and fish sauce.
Blend yellow onion, apple, and pear with one cup of water, then add this natural sweetener to the cabbage.
Put on a pair of plastic gloves and give everything a thorough toss and rubdown. You want to evenly distribute all ingredients, especially the red chili paste.
Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.
Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well – this liquid will become kimchi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.
Be sure to leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow bottle of kimchi to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours.
Refrigerate and take out portions as needed. The refrigerated kimchi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator over time. So long as you use clean utensils to take out small portions, it will keep a month or longer in your refrigerator.
Hints on spices Feel free to experiment. Add spices you like. (I often add a 1/4 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce).
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