Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Make Homemade Kimchi the Easy Way

Why buy it when you can make it at home?

     I love Kimchi but find that it can be on the pricey side and it's not always at the spice or flavor level I want.  I also find that sometimes it's more sour than I want because I generally like to eat it as a side dish and don't really need sour unless it's for kimchi pancakes or fried rice.  I took a trip to this amazing market, Great Wall Supermarket, after driving by it a gazillion times.  I usually go to Hmart for my Asian food needs and so I just never bothered.  Boy, was that a mistake!  Let's just say that I spent almost two hours in there walking up and down every aisle and taking a mental snapshot of all the things I wanted to go back for one day.  They have absolutely everything, including live turtles and eels in dozens of tanks filled with everything you can imagine.  Anyhow, I decided it was time to make kimchi and so I bought the ingredients and decided to make it on a slow and boring day in December, today! 
    I looked up recipes on line and watched videos on google and made my own modifications based on Maangchi's technique and Danny Mac's Kitchen.  Danny Mac's Kitchen was the most basic and easy to follow with great directions and so this is my version.  I will post a link to his video for those of you, who like me, like to see things demonstrated.  And it smells sooooo good!  Can't wait for it to be ready. 

Ingredients you will need...
3lbs of Napa Cabbage
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup Water
1 3/4 ozs garlic
1 3/4 ozs ginger(or cut down to 1 oz if you're not a big fan)
1 1/2 tsps of Sugar
1 1/4 cups of Korean Pepper Powder(I had coarse flakes)
1 tsp of Fish Sauce (use soy if you want vegetarian version)
2 cups of cubed daikon radish (shredded/ matchstick sized if you prefer)
7 stalks of green onions
2 carrots

One large head of cabbage was just over 3lbs. I quartered it and then chopped it into bite size chunks.  The bottom two pictures show the size of my cabbage pieces.  I placed it into a large bowl poured 1 cup of water over the cabbage and 1/2 cup of kosher salt all over the cabbage and tossed it thoroughly with my hands. You want to make sure you get salt on all your pieces.  At this point I would let the cabbage sit for 25 minutes and then thoroughly mix it again.  Repeat this 3 times for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

While you are waiting for you cabbage to get nicely salted and you can make your paste mixture.  I put the garlic and ginger in a food processor and it came out looking like the top right photo.  Then, add your 1 1/4 cups of Red Pepper Powder into the bowl with the ginger and garlic and stir to combine.  Next, pour your cup of water into the mixture but use just enough to create a paste like consistency.  Pour a little at a time until you get it.  Finally add 1tsp of your fish sauce to the paste mixture and set aside.

Now, chop your veggies!  I used Daikon Radish, Green onions and carrots.  Typically they are shredded but I like the cubed radish and to tell you the truth, I hate julienning and took a short cut.  I know this because I watched a documentary on Kimchi. 
Check it out!
Top left...after an hour and 15 minutes this is what it looked like and you can see all the water that comes out of the cabbage.  Now it's time to rinse!  Strain the mixture and then wash with cold water 3 times. I filled the bowl with water and swooshed it around real good, strain and repeat. Bottom left sitting in cold water waiting for cleaning.  Bottom right:  All done and that is what it looked like.  Squeaky clean and ready for a paste bath.

Throw your veggies in the bowl with the drained and nicely salted cabbage.

Now toss until it looks nicely combined.

Massage that red pepper paste deliciousness into the veggies like a massage therapist looking for a hot date!  Yeah, baby!! (In my Austin Powers voice)  "Me likey when you rub me like that", says your veggies!

Now stuff everything into your jar and pack it as tightly as you can.  I used this glass jar and there was just enough head space in it that it didn't bubble over from the fermenting that was taking place.  Put it on a plate or in something so if it does, you won't have such a mess on your hands.  This is my kimchi after one day of sitting on the table.  I checked it this morning(day two) and I will most likely put it into the fridge tonight and that will make it 48 hours.  You can put it in the fridge right away if you're skittish about leaving food out but it will take longer to ferment.  I tasted it twice yesterday and it was sooooo good.  I will taste again today because I don't want it too sour.

I look forward to eating it with some rice and my Korean Steamed Egg.  And don't forget to scroll to the bottom for the video on "How to make Kimchi" from Danny Mac's Kitchen.  Great for those of you who prefer some visual assistance. Would love to hear from you if you try it.  That is all!

How to make Kimchi.....

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