My friend David (if you don’t know him click here) gave me a Korean name last year– Maruchi.
(Sounds like Ma-roo-chee).
I love it. He recently told me it means “spastic little fish.” Which is way too appropriate.
Check out this photograph he gave me – it’s me in fish form!
David turned me into a kimchi addict. (It all started here).
What is kimchi? It’s a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables. Fermented food does a body good.
He ignited my kimchi spark, then taught me to fuel my own fire. He gave me photographs of how he makes kimchi (and he makes THE BEST kimchi) and many lectures about the details.
I’ve been practicing. I am pleased to present you with:
First things first. Get all your friends together:
- Napa Cabbage
- Korean Radish (or the longer Japanese Daikon)
- Kosher Salt (not iodized or sea salt)
- Korean Red Pepper*
- Glass Jars
* This is hard to find. David says never use crushed red pepper flakes. The first time I made Kimchi, I used cayenne which came out fine. This time David gave me some of his Korean Red Pepper. (I might have to invest, it comes in huge bags that cost $15 a pop. Kind of daunting for a single gal).
Look at the glittery little crystals. Korean pepper flakes are like none I’ve ever seen.
Random aside: David gave the pepper to me in a mango jam jar. Who knew of such a thing?
Back to business. Halve your cabbage.
(Does that sound weird?)
Then halve each half.
Cut the cores…
Give them a bath
Cut the peeled daikon and cabbage into bite size pieces.
Then place them in a large bowl (make sure it’s a large bowl) alternating layers of veggies and salt.
Based on my research and advice from David I used 1 cup of salt for a 5 lb cabbage and two large radishes.
General rule of thumb is 1/4 cup salt per lb of cabbage.
Then you let it hang out for a few hours…
The vegetables will reduce in size drastically and release a lot of water. See it all?
Drain your veggies and give them a quick rinse.
Chop the garlic and scallions.
I used about 15 green onions and the equivalent of maybe three heads of garlic. (I’m not scared)
Add them to the mix with the pepper flake.
And mix it all up.
I know, I know. You’re drooling all over your keyboard huh?
No cupcakes, oatmeal or vegan dough-balls here at Beautiful Struggle. I bring you fermented cabbage and pickles and peanut butter – my own green monsters.
*David told me many Koreans have a separate fridge devoted for kimchi. Now I understand why.
Grab some glass jars (not plastic) and let your Kimchi “ripen” outside the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. You know you’ve got fermentation action when you see the tiny bubbles.
Then stick it in the fridge…the longer you wait the “riper” it will get. When I say “ripe” I’m alluding to a distinct trademark smell the Kimchi releases. Pungent, briny, garlicky..well…you just have to smell it.
Some say “yum” and some say “run!”
I say “freaky, stinky food is FUN!”
Hey, It could be worse. Most kimchi is made with fish sauce and some with salted shrimp and other seafood. I draw the line at fermented fish.
- What’s your Kimchi verdict? Be honest. Just be sure to add the “but I love you anyways” after.
- David’s reading this….you can say “Hi” if you want.