Konky's Creative Kitchen
Updated: Feb 28, 2022
This time of year in New Hampshire, the farm-stands are offering some amazing fresh produce. Mother Nature has brought some challenges to the weather for 2021. Thankfully, that did not prevent them from growing altogether. Our local farm-stands network with each other, sending cases of beautiful fruits and vegetables to sell. A significant project for many in New England is actively canning, pickling and fermenting foods.
Korea's number one dish is Kimchi. Almost every meal served, kimchi is always by their side or on the main plate. This fermented food comes in well over 100 different varieties with vegetables being the main ingredient. This is made with a variety of seasonings more common in Korea, like gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and gochujang (Korean pepper paste). Then you will find scallions, garlic, ginger, and salted seafood.
This is served either as a side dish or can definitely be the main dish. With Kimchi, you can open the door to many amazing meals such as stir-fry, with rice, with dangmyeon (Korean sweet potato glass noodles), into pancakes (pa jun or buchimgae), into stews (Kimchi Jjigae, Budae jjigae, Jjampong), and even your regular eggs in the morning!
PLEASE NOTE: I wrote this recipe in a way that will allow the recipe to be cut in half. Ultimately, your spice tolerance is dictated by you and what you can handle. This is where you have to trust your own palate. I recommend you trying a kimchi that is made first - you can find them at your local Asian markets, some local standard markets, and are found also online. If you really like it and want to make this at home - you are welcome to start here as this is a more simplified version.
2 Napa Cabbages, fairly large - sliced and broken apart 2 Carrots, large - julienned
1 C Daikon Radish - julienned
1 C Korean Chives - chopped 5 Scallions - chopped
1/2 C Ginger, fresh, minced 1/2 C Garlic, fresh, minced Kosher salt - Grab a box (Estimate 1 1/2 C being used)
Kimchi Sauce Ingredients:
1 C Reserved Brine from the Cabbage 1/2 C Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) 1/2 C Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) 1/2 C Rice Vinegar 1/2 C Fish Sauce 1/4 C Sugar (preferably cane sugar)
*PREP YOUR CABBAGE FIRST - THE DAY BEFORE:
You must prep the cabbage first as this needs to wilt overnight in a wet salted brine. Inspect the leaves first and remove the outer leaves if you need to.
Have a large mixing bowl ready! Slice your napa into 1" - 1 1/2" cuts. This will allow you to inspect the inside to see if you need to pre-rinse for any dirt. Remove the small core at the bottom.
You need to break up these sliced chunks. As you split them up, inspect the leaves for anything that you may want to remove.
Sprinkle your kosher salt onto the cabbage at approximately 1/4 C at a time. Make sure all of the cabbage is getting a coating of kosher salt. You will want to toss the leaves around in the bowl. By the time you are done, this should have no more than 1 1/2 C of kosher salt if you are working with two large-sized Napa cabbages. Add water until just as the cabbage leaves might start to float. Use a platter that is big enough to put on top of the bowl and add a weighed-item on top. This will need to sit overnight to allow the leaves to wilt and get salted.
*THE NEXT DAY - PREP THE REST OF THE INGREDIENTS: From the brine, reserve 1 C and set it aside. Take your napa cabbage and dump into a colander to allow the rest of the brine to drain. Leave this in either your sink or the big mixing bowl while you prep everything else.
Prep your Korean chives, carrots, scallions, daikon, ginger, and garlic and place into a bowl.
Prep the Kimchi sauce with a gloved hand! You will want to mix this with your gloved hand in a separate bowl to make sure it is fully dissolved. Set this bowl aside. Return to your colander - dump the remaining brine and empty the wilted cabbage into the bowl again. Run water through the cabbage and drain again. We want to remove as much of the brine as possible, to avoid this being a salt-lick from hell. Once drained, dump your wilted cabbage into the big mixing bowl. Add your prepped vegetables to your cabbage bowl and mix thoroughly. Still with a gloved hand, mix your kimchi sauce into the large bowl with all of your ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Into sterilized jars or food-grade safe containers, you want to pack your kimchi nice and tight to avoid any air. Add a little of the sauce at the top but leave about 1/4" to 1/2" room. Place the lids on top but leave ajar. Place the filled jars/containers into a pan on your counter top. Let this sit out for approximately three days, maybe more. Once you see seepage, your kimchi has already begun the process of fermenting. At this time, tighten the lids, rinse the jars clean with water and place in your fridge.
*SIDE BAR NOTES: Do you have seafood allergies or you are a vegan? Simply omit the fish sauce and use either soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free soy sauce). You may need to add a splash-more of vinegar but taste-test first before doing so.
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