Kimchi at the Library
Kimchi is a spicy Korean pickle, made from cabbage and other vegetables. There are many styles of Kimchi but typically it may include Chinese cabbage, radishes or turnips, spring onions, dried seafood, ginger, fish sauce and hot chili pepper. It is said that the average Korea eats 120grams of Kimchi each day and many people make it at home.
I’m really enjoying Sandor Ellix Katz’s books on fermentation. Wild Fermentation is great for lot’s of easy to find recipes, while The Art of Fermentation is a great read with lot’s of passionate writing about food and culture and food ethics. I love the way he talks about fermentation as creating a forest of organisms in a jar. My first experiment with fermentation was with salted lemons, (yes preserving lemons is also a fermentation process), and have now moved onto Kimchi. This easy version of Kimchi only takes about a week to ferment and the results are delicious. Kimchi can be served with almost anything. It’s great with rice for a quick instant meal from a jar, with dumplings or in Korean pancakes. There are so many versions of Kimchi some like it hot and spicy, some more sour, so experiment with spices and fermentation time to get the result that you like.
The recipe below is the one we made at the Library at the Dock on a cold and wintery day in May.
Ingredients for 1 litre
Sea salt (use pickling salt or sea salt without anti-caking agent or added iodine. Supermarket salt contains these additives and may interfere with the fermentation process).
I daikon radish or 3 red radishes.
4 spring onions (can substitute leeks, onions or shallots).
3-4 garlic cloves to taste.
3-4 hot red chilies (can use sambal oelek, chili flakes or chili sauce as long as it doesn’t have any chemical preservatives).
3 tbs grated ginger or more to taste.
Fish sauce if desired around 2 tablespoons.
- Mix 1 litre of water with 4 tablespoons of salt to make a brine. Stir well to dissolve.
- Coarsely chop cabbage, slice all other vegetables finely. Soak vegetables for a few hours or overnight.
- Chop spices finely and mix into a paste. Add fish sauce if desired.
- Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine. Adjust salt to taste.
- Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff into a clean jar 1 litre jar.
- Press down until the brine rises. Add reserved brine to cover the vegetables.
- Leave in a warm place for about a week. Check the Kimchi daily ensuring that the vegetables are covered. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to press the vegetables into the brine. Top up with more brine if necessary to ensure the vegetables are covered. Watch for little bubbles to rise and taste for appropriate sourness.
- Place in the fridge. Kimchi will safely keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.