For those surviving without ovens.

As an expat from the States, it can be difficult having loved and lost your oven... but there's a plethora of recipes to meet your tastebuds' needs using stovetop, crockpot, and even microwaving methods! This blog will provide recipes spanning from sidedishes to desserts, funky to traditional, and a few things in between. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Homemade Kimchi... it's easier than you may think!

I find it ironic that I never made kimchi in the entire two years I lived in Korea... it would have been cheaper to make I am sure. But, as I live in the epicenter of Dallas' asian markets, it is not hard to find all the ingredients I need to get started. So, let me just preface this with DO NOT START YOUR KIMCHI AT 7PM (yep, made that mistake.). Start it in the morning or EARLY afternoon. For working peeps, this could make for a fun Saturday morning activity... in fact, invite a few kimchi loving friends over and just make a big batch to split. Why not?!

This recipe claims to serve 10, but I think it ends up stretching a little further than that.

1 head napa cabbage
salt (Korean salt is preferable, but kosher or course sea salt will do well, don't use regular table salt or you will end up with overly salty kimchi)

1/4 C course sea salt
5 T water
2 T table salt

2 oysters (optional, I didn't add these)
1/2 daikon (large Korean white radish) peeled and thinly sliced, or grated
1/4 C small green onions, diced
7 galic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of peeled ginger, minced or grated (about 1- 1 1/2 T)
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 asian pear, peeled and finely diced
3 large korean green onions, chopped (about 4 C chopped regular green onions)
1/4- 1/3 C Korean chili powder (I used 1/3 and it was still a little weak so I may
add an extra 1-2T next time)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 C fish sauce(should be transparent and slightly brown, NOT cloudy/merky)
1 red chili, finely sliced
1/2 C water

1. Cut the napa cabbage length-wise in quarters, you can keep the core intact if you want to keep the piece as a whole. I cut the core out to help get the marinade in between all the pieces more evenly and I think it turned out just fine. In fact, that was one of the main complaints on many of the recipes I viewed..... that the tips were really salty while the stalks were not, so to even out the flavors, just chop the hard core out. Then place in a large bowl (or clean sink) and cover with cold water. Add 2 T sea salt or Korean salt and let soak for about 2 hours.

2. Drain the cabbage and THOROUGHLY rinse 3 times with cold water, as well as your bowl or sink. Then, message cabbage with salt marinade, making sure to coat all leaves (in between if leaving core intact) and leave to stand for about 3 more hours.

3. Meanwhile, prepare your seasoning by combining all your chopped ingredients,fish sauce, sugar,chili powder and water in a large bowl. Set aside.

4. Drain the softened cabbage and THOROUGHLY rinse 3 times with cold water.Once most liquid is drained, place in seasoning bowl and toss until thoroughly coated.

5. Place in clean airtight container and leave to stand at room temp overnight or about 5-8 hours. ( I put two layers of plastic wrapp over the opening before tightening the lid on to help seal and keep the smell confined... I also used a glass container as it keep smells in better than plastic tupperware.)

6. Place in refrigerator for minimum of 24 hours and then enjoy. :) I let mine do it's thing for at least 48 hours before trying and upon trial, the flavors were very evenly dispersed and oh so tasty! Enjoy!

To serve, I simply pulled out the desired amount of kimchi onto a cutting board and gave it a rough chop before serving. (Keeping the leaves whole helped to preserve some of the crunch, since the brining/marinade process softened all the edges. Less edges= less soft spots!)

We had both fresh and sauted kimchi at the taste testing and both were fabulous, so go forth and make kimchi. The hardest part is waiting!

modified slightly from a recipe in "The Food and Cooking of Korea" by Young Jin Song

Another aside: I had extra radish, so I diced it into 1/2 inch cubes and used some of the excess seasoning to make a small batch of radish kimchi, following the same steps 1-6 with the radish as well. It made a nice refreshing little kimchi.


Becky said...

I cannot wait to try it! So funny how some Korean women say it's *so* hard. It's not that hard and anything this good will require some elbow grease. Thanks for posting!

elizabeth (bubbleteafordinner) said...

that's really wicked, I keep meaning to make my own kimchi. Does it taste like the local stuff?

Lindsey Lett said...

Elizabeth, it is the real deal. I even served it to some state-side Korean friends and they were beyond impressed with my adjuma skills! And now, it is aged a bit and time for kimchi jigae... so pumped!