Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kimchi - 김치

Ah, I feel like I'm disappointing everyone so much! More than a whole week has gone by again without me posting anything. I haven't been able to reply to comments, update the website or even check out your blogs! And I'm pretty sure this is going to continue for another week or two. I really wish I could find the time for even the tiniest post in between, but with my research coming to an end I really don't have the time. I might not even be able to say anything about Easter traditions! After my work's done though, I swear I will make up for everything!


But between all the business I was able to cook, take a few snapshots and quickly write a post for you! I hope you enjoy this traditional Korean dish! From what I know about Korea, this is something you will find any time anywhere and all over the place. It's kind of like potatoes here, or ketchup. If I were to describe kimchi to you: it's spicy and pickled and 'fermented'. The first one is definitely there and all over the place, you're not able to taste the pickled part due to the spiciness and apart from the fact that you know it has been hanging around for a few days, you wouldn't know it was fermented.

Kimchi
makes 2 large jars

1 Chinese or nappa cabbage
1 cup (roughly 300 grams) salt
10 cups water

optional:
2/3 large carrots or Korean radishes
3 spring onions/shallot
2 onions
4 chilli's

1/4 cup rice flour
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup garlic cloves, chopped
1/8 cup ginger paste or chopped ginger
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 cup Korean red pepper flakes*

1. Wash the cabbage and chop into 5 by 5 cm chunks.
2. Take out a large bowl and sprinkle salt on the bottom. Add a layer of cabbage, sprinkle salt on top, add more cabbage, more salt, etc. until you have several layers of salted cabbage. Gently pour the water down the side (we don't want to wash all the salt to the bottom). Leave it to soak for roughly 3 hours. Give it a good stir somewhere halfway.
3.Chop the onions, carrots, chillis and any other vegetables you might like into thin slices. Put in a bowl and set aside.
4. Make the kimchi paste by putting the rice flour in a pan. Add a little water and dissolve, then add the rest of the water. Put the pan on low to medium heat and keep stirring until it starts to thicken. Leave, while stirring, to thicken until it is as thick as a paste.
5. Take off the heat and add all the other ingredients. Stir until combined.
6. Drain and wash the cabbage and put in a very large bowl. Add everything else and stir until combined.
7. Put the kimchi in airtight containers and leave it outside the fridge for 1-2 days. Afterwards, leave in the fridge. It should officially be left to ferment for around a week, but you can eat it after 2 days (or even immediately).

* or chilli flakes: see comment below this recipe!

* You can make this dish as spicy as you want! If you're really bad with peppers like I am, go for paprika powder. If you love spicy food then add piri piri flakes, hot peppers or anything superspicy you can find. Officially you should go for Korean (coarse) pepper powder or flakes, but not everyone has a Korean supermarket around the corner. Or even knows where to find one in the entire country. I for one really don't!

Since I made this recipe by studying several recipes and pictures and getting inspired all over place, I can't really give credit to one person. But since there are so many recipes that look quite good, I'll just give credit to the lot of them: Maangchi and Maangchi (best recipes I found, with lots of pictures as bonus), CrazyKoreanCooking (uses different fish sauces), EasyKoreanFood (uses pear in stead of sugar), theKitchn (most 'Western' recipe) and this link (no, I cant read it either).

There are quite a lot of kimchi recipes out there and not all of them use cabbage. Quite frankly, there's probably as much types of kimchi as there are fish in the sea, so getting creative, using what you have in your fridge and substituting half the ingredients is almost mandatory. What I do know about kimchi is that 'real' kimchi has a lot more of a fishy taste than my recipe does. I bought a bit of kimchi from an Asian supermarket, but nobody here likes the extremely fishy taste, so I'm glad I didn't use much fish sauce.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy! I'm sorry for not having the time my blog and everyone reading this deserves. I can only hope to make up for it once I'm free again!

2 comments:

  1. This is a dish I keep hearing of but am yet to try. Sounds so good though, I'll have to put it on my "things to cook" list

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    1. Haha, I made it for the exact same reason! I've been reading up too much on Korea lately.. If you like spicy stuff I'm sure you'll enjoy this.. I really hope you do!

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