Making Kimchi

21 Mar

Making Kimchi is the true test of a Korean wife. I am not Korean, but I am the wife of a Korean. I’m driven as most Korean’s are to be excellent and so I try my hand at Kimchi again and again trying to get it perfect. Some things that I have learned are:

1) Don’t be in a rush! You need to set aside a good 48 hours of no plans to make Kimchi

2) Taste as you go. Kimchi has a really distinct taste, you want to make sure you taste for saltiness and crispness and taste the other ingredients to make sure you like them as well. I’ve made the mistake more then once of adding too much ginger for my taste.

3) A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen. Before you begin you will need to scrub your kitchen counters, and sink especially. The atmosphere of the room (as silly as this might sound) will affect how your kimchi tastes. Don’t ask me how it works I have no idea!

Now let’s get started!

The finished product is read y to eat or to go away to ferment

The finished product is ready to eat or to go away to ferment

First you will need to gather supplies. I can get most things at my local Korean grocer or TNT supermarket. If you live in or near Ottawa Ontario check out Arrum Korean Grocery. They have everything and lovely people run the place!

Supplies:

Two huge bowls, one large mixing bowls, a medium mixing bowl and some other smaller bowls
a sharp knife and cutting board
food processor (makes the job a lot easier)
some large containers that you will not use for anything else (they will smell like Kimchi forever!)
plastic gloves

Ingredients:

Two large Napa Cabbages
Korean radish
Kosher salt (sea salt works)
1/4 cup sugar disolved in water
1/2 cup of sweet rice flour

sweet rice flour

4cups of hot pepper flakes
1cup of fish sauce (omit if you are vegan)
1 medium size onion minced (about 1 cup)
1 cup of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
7 stalks of green onion chopped diagonally
2 cups of finely chopped asian chives
2 cups of the Korean radish chopped like a match stick
Step 1:
Take your cabbage, your large sharp knife and a cutting board. Chop the cabbage through the core. Set your knife in a safe place then grab either side of your cabbage and rip it in two. I like doing this, I feel powerful šŸ™‚

Now in the words of Maangchi, “Give your cabbage a bath”.
It needs to be rinsed thoroughly before the salting process. Make sure you rinse between each leaf.

Set aside your first head of cabbage to drain and repeat with the second head.

When your cabbage is rinsed you can begin the salting process. Take some of your Kosher salt in a bowl and sprinkle salt between each leaf. Pay special attention to the core.

sprinkle Kocher Salt between each leaf of the cabbage

sprinkle Kocher Salt between each leaf of the cabbage

When it is thoroughly salted place the heads in your two big bowls. You should have four halves. Place two in each large bowl, or however they fit best and cover them in water. They need to soak for two hours, then get flipped and soak for two more hours. Set your timer.

Rip off a tiny piece of cabbage to taste how salty it is, do this at the beginning middle and end of this process. It should be much softer, smaller and limp when the four hours are up.

Napa Cabbage after soaking 4 hours

Napa Cabbage after soaking 4 hours

After the four hours are up, dump the water out of the bowls and rinse the cabbage. You want to rinse like your trying to get all of the salt off the leaves. The salty taste will stay forever, but this way it won’t taste too salty. After rinsing take another taste.

IMG_9361

Step two:

Now we’ll make the paste that gives Kimchi that spicy fresh full taste. You can mix this up while waiting for the cabbage to soak. It’s a good time to get the chopping accomplished.

Chop the green onion length wise about the Asian chives small

Chop the green onion length wise about the Asian chives small

garlic and ginger ready to pulverize!

garlic and ginger ready to pulverize!

garlic and ginger and onion

garlic and ginger and onion

I add lots because I love it so much!

Korean Radish: I add lots because I love it so much!

Bring a 1/4 cup of water to a boil with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, when it is thickening add the sweet rice flour.

Don’t stop stirring to text your friend! It needs to be that nice porridge likeĀ consistencyĀ .

mix the sweet rice flour with the sugar water mixture over medium heat.

mix the sweet rice flour with the sugar water mixture over medium heat.

After its all ready take it away from the heat to cool.

When the sweet rice flour mixture is cool dump it with all of your chopped ingredients, red pepper flakes and fish sauce into the large mixing bowl.

Korean food always has great presentation, so I tried to keep things looking nice as I went along ^-^

Korean food always has great presentation, so I tried to keep things looking nice as I went along ^-^

All theĀ ingredientsĀ are ready to be mixed up! Put on your plastic gloves and make that lovely bowl a mess!

Nearing the finish line!

Nearing the finish line! Taste the paste!

Note the little brown bowl? I have the left over radish cut into chunks and soaking in salted water for another kind of kimchi. Same steps andĀ DeliciousĀ taste!

By now your cabbage might still be soaking. It’s fine to leave the ingredients on the counter while you wait the remainder of the time. I usually use this time to get some of the cleaning done.

Once your cabbage is done soaking and your paste is made it’s time for the final step!

Smearing paste between each leaf.

Smearing paste between each leaf.

Start at the core and smear the red paste on every leaf. Be generous and rub it in everywhere. Repeat this on all of the pieces. (If you soaked your left over radish, rinse it a few times and dump any left over paste in with it. Mix it up and you have another kind of kimchi!)

I love the rewarding feeling of having made an entire batch of kimchi! I hope yours tastes great! You can eat it fresh as a side dish, or put it away to ferment. Fermented Kimchi is best for cooking with.

This is the basic staple of Korean cooking. Kimchi goes with every meal, as in Breakfast lunch and dinner and any kind of food. Ā A meal isn’t complete without kimchi!

I hope you enjoy!

kimchi kitchen mess :(

kimchi kitchen mess šŸ˜¦

Kimchi Kitchen clean!
Kimchi Kitchen clean!

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