Kimchi

I’ve been to South Korea exactly once, and it was on a 12-hr layover on the way home from Vietnam.

For the two weeks in Vietnam, we had been wearing shorts and tank tops for the hot, humid weather.

But in Korea it was rainy and cold, so it was a last-minute scramble to figure out what we had with us to layer and keep warm.

I’m not a particularly fashionable person to begin with, but that was pretty bad, even for me.

We took a short tour into Seoul, had a quick meal of Korean food – but you know a few hours is not nearly enough to see a country.

We had big plans to try to go back last year… and well, you know how that went.

South Korea is at the top of our list whenever it’s responsibly save to travel again, but until then I’m bringing Korea to LA… what Korean dishes do you want to see me make?

I’ve made this kimchi recipe that Jen from Use Real Butter adapted from Maangchi a BUNCH of times.

I typically leave out the leek, and sometimes add in some Asian pear, but otherwise we love it! We’ve made it both with and without the fermentation step – Son prefers our kimchi when it tastes fresher, so these days I tend to skip the fermentation.

I usually make a full, or sometimes even a double batch depending on how big my napa cabbage is, but this time around I somehow got the tiniest napa cabbage ever in my grocery delivery! So… I ended up making 1/10th of a batch, which is why in the video, you may notice I skipped some things (because they just didn’t make sense for such a tiny batch!)

Regardless, it was still tasty… but this means I’m going to have to make more kimchi very soon!

Kimchi

from Use Real Butter

Ingredients
  • 5 lbs napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour (like Mochiko)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, cut into medium chunks
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups coarse ground red pepper powder
  • 5 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup leek, chopped (greens too)
  • 2 cups Korean radish, julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrot, julienned
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare the cabbage: Remove any wilted outer leaves of the napa cabbage heads. Quarter the heads lengthwise and cut out the cores. Chop the cabbage into bite-size pieces. Place the cabbage in a large bowl of water (use two large bowls if it won’t all fit). Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage (divide it accordingly if you have multiple bowls of cabbage). Turn the cabbage every 30 minutes to get an even brining for a total of 90 minutes. Rinse the cabbage in a large bowl of water three times. Drain the cabbage and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Prepare the paste: Combine the sweet rice flour and water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Keep stirring until it is bubbling and then add the sugar. Continue to stir until the mixture turns somewhat translucent. Pour into a large, clean bowl. Place the garlic, ginger, and onion in the bowl of a food processor and purée. Add the purée to the sweet rice paste along with the fish sauce and the red pepper powder and mix it all together. Stir in the green onions, leeks, Korean radish, and carrot until the vegetables are well-coated.
  3. Mix and ferment: Add the cabbage to the paste and, wearing disposable gloves, mix by hand until all of the cabbage is evenly coated with the paste. Pack the kimchi tightly into an airtight container (glass jar, plastic tub, etc.). You may have to use multiple containers. Push the kimchi down so the liquid covers the top, but leave at least 1 inch of headspace in the top of the container. We refrigerate/eat our kimchi immediately because we like it fresher, but if you prefer your kimchi fermented then let the kimchi sit on the counter for a day with some sort of plate or bowl to catch any leaking liquid underneath the container. If it is fermenting, there will be gas bubbles developing down in the kimchi which pushes the liquid up and possibly out of the top of your vessel. Open the lid once or twice a day to let the kimchi de-gas and to push the cabbage back down into the vessel. After 2 days, it should start to sour a little (this is good!). If this is the right taste for you, seal it up and place it in the refrigerator to enjoy as you like.

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