Monday, May 30, 2011

Kimchi — the Spice of Life

This year’s first batch of kimchi — It’s not fully fermented yet, but good enough to make a relish for today’s Memorial Day BBQ at Freddy’s Bar. Kimchi isn't difficult to make, but it is a task. If you have refrigerator space and air-tight containers you’re halfway there. For my kimchi recupe and detailed instructions go to Kimchi-licious! Here's a pictorial overview below.

You’ll need these spices: (clockwise) fresh garlic, ginger root, sweet Korean chili (finely ground), sea salt; brown sugar, fresh onion, scallions (not pictured).

Kimchi is made from Napa Cabbage. Make sure the leaves are firm and tight when you buy a head. Asian white radish (Daikon) lends a nice deep flavor as it ferments. The cabbage and the radish are cut into bite-size pieces, then are salted and brined overnight. Ginger and garlic are the key ingredients for making chili paste. Make sure you use fresh ginger root only — they should be plump and firm. Peel the ginger before you run it through the food processor with the garlic. Scallions are optional, but i do like them.

Make some chili paste (Gochuchang). Put all dry ingredients and spices into a bowl. Mix well and add enough water to make a thick paste. Adjust spices to taste. Now mix everything together in a large bowl until the cabbage is evenly coated. Here’s the tricky part. To start fermentation you must leave everything out at room temperature for a day. After that pack everything into air-tight containers and add brine until it covers the contents completely and place in the fridge. It should be ready in about a month.

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