Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ultimate Pickle: Korean Kimchi

Okay friends,
Here's the moment of truth:  like pickles?  check.  like spicy?  check.  like good bacteria? (think yogurt) check.  Then here's the the superfood side dish for you: KIMCHI!!!

It isn't easy to find vegan friendly kimchi from stores because traditional recipes call for fish sauce, oysters, and salted shrimp brine.  Some also have been using MSG (ewwwwww!).  I was not happy to find that my favorite Kimchi brand was not vegan friendly.  So~ like the determined korean I am, I decided to make my own.

Ladies and Gents, get ready to challenge your taste buds to the best spicy/sweet/tart condiment to everything you'll eat for now and ever more!

I tried making Cubed Daikon Kimchi and the traditional Cabbage Kimchi.  The spicy mixture for the Daikon and Cabbage Kimchi is 1 kind that can be used in both (which makes life easy). :)  It's easier if you make the two different kimchis (or 1 very large batch) all at once.  If you want to only make 1 kind, then double the napa cabbage or double the daikon.

these recipes are adapted from Maangchi's Kimchi Recipe

Utensils needed:
2 large airtight plastic or glass containers
(like large pickle jars)
mandolin (if you have one, otherwise sharpen your knive skills)
3 large bowls (or large pots)
measuring cups

**do NOT wear white while attempting this recipe!!!

Cabbage Kimchi

1 napa cabbage head, cut into longitudinal quarters (length wise, the long ways)
1 c of course kosher salt

1.  make sure the cabbage is washed well (cabbages can carry dirt very well), making sure to wash between the leaves.  drain well.
2.  in a wide, large bowl/pot, throw generous amounts of salt in between each leaf.  NOTE:  this is a very important process, so do NOT skimp on the leaves and the salt.  let all the cabbage sit for 2 hours, then turn the cabbage over so the salt seeps into the leaves and removes the moisture for another 2 hours.
3.  when the cabbage has wilted after 4-5 hours, rinse the cabbage well in cold water for 2-3 washes.  rinse well.  drain, and set aside.

Daikon Kimchi

1 12-18 inch long, 6 inch wide Chinese radish/daikon (can be attained from an Asian market)
1/2 c fine salt

1.  scrub the daikon very well.  cut off the head and the tail and cube the daikon into 1 inch cubes.  don't worry if the cubes aren't uniform.
2.  in a wide, large bowl, sprinkle salt over the cubes and mix the salt through.  let it sit for 2-4 hours, mixing half way through.
3.  rinse well in cold water and drain.

Spicy Paste/Mix/Porridge!

1-8x10 in. sheet of kelp (dashima)
1/2 c dark miso (if you have gluten allergies, make sure the miso is gluten free)
1/2 c sweet rice flour
2-4 c of korean red pepper flakes (gochu garu)
2 c diced asian chives (buchu)
2 bulbs of garlic, minced (about 1 c)
1 c finely diced onion
1 bunch of green onions, diced thinly
2 carrots, thinly shredded
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
2 c shredded daikon/radish (mu)
1 c shredded asian pear
1/2 c grated asian pear (like apple sauce)

1.  An hour before the cabbage and radish are done wilting, begin the vegan stock.  Place 5 cups of water in a pot and add kelp.  Let it steep slowly for 15-30 minutes simmering, then add the miso.  Let it boil until the miso is completely dissolved.  Remove the kelp and add the sweet rice flour, stirring it in until a paste forms.  Turn off heat and let it cool a bit.
2.  In a bowl, pour the paste in and begin adding the other ingredients one at a time.
**NOTE about the pepper flakes:  I mixed in 2 cups because I'm a horrible Korean and am a weakling when it comes to spice, but if you're a spicy food guru, mix in the full 4 cups.**
Mix well until everything is a spicy, colorful paste/porridge.

Now the fun begins!

3.  Prepare the jars/containers right next to you so you can transfer the ready cabbage and radishes without staining things.
Put 1 of the quartered cabbages in the spicy paste bowl and begin spreading the mixture in between each layer.  Make sure to get right into the "roots" of the leaves.  When all the leaves are done, turn over, and gently squeeze and wrap the large leaves around the inside of the cabbage.  If the paste seeps out, don't worry about it.  Repeat with the remaining cabbages.  Stack the wrapped cabbages in the container tightly.
About half of the spicy paste should be left over.
4.  Mix all the daikon cubes into the remaining paste, and mix well.  Pour the daikon mix into another container.

Let the kimchis sit for a couple of days before trying, although eating the fresh kimchi is good too!  But when the flavors seep into the veggies, it's even better.  The kimchi should last in your fridge for a couple of weeks, even months, but remember that cabbage kimchi will get very "ripe", which means the fermentation/sourness is very strong, the older it is.  If you have difficulty eating very sour kimchi, then make sure to consume sooner.  Otherwise Kimchi stew or Kimchi pancakes are perfect dishes to use up very "ripe" kimchi.


No comments:

Post a Comment