Tuesday, July 31, 2012

kickarse kimchi

I blame Yong Green.

Thanks to their Dragon Bowl (brown rice, homemade kimchi and other vegan goodies), I became hooked on the stuff. Not satisfied with eating it only at Yong, I’d buy tubs of the Korean staple and throw it into vegan dishes, even gyoza .It was the summer of kimchi.

So, of course, once cabbage season hit it was time to make my own.

Another summer find was the Hot Knives cookbook, Salad Daze. It’s like a kid that forgot to take his Ritalin - loud, in your face but with a certain charm. A vego cookbook with attitude.

And Salad Daze has a kickarse kimchi recipe.

Making kimchi is simple but requires patience. And clean implements. You want the good bacteria, not the kind that makes you sick.



Day one: sterilise your pickling vessel. Make a batch of brine. Chop tons of cabbage, carrots, daikon, pak choi and spring onions. Blend garlic, fresh chillies, ginger and Korean pepper powder to make the spice paste. Keep the spice paste in it’s own jar. Cover the chopped vegetables with brine and place a heavy weight on top. The pressure and the salt help push the moisture out of the vegetables so they’ll absorb the flavours from the herbs when you add them.

Having no ceramic crock, I improvised with a massive antique glass jar and used a brine filled plastic bag as a weight and makeshift lid. It worked surprisingly well.




Day two: drain the brine soaked vegetables and taste for saltiness (mine also needed a quick rinse). Mix veg with the spice paste (that’s also been brewing nicely in it’s jar for the past day) and shove the spicy vegetable mixture back in the jar. Really jam it into the crock. Cover with the brine bag again. Let it brew in the jar for at least 7 days before bottling. After a week the spices were still very hot and gingery. I left it another two days before bottling and in that time the flavour had mellowed. Still a hit of chilli but the overall heat was more rounded.






I made two huge jars of kickarse kimchi. One went back to Sydney with the Significant Eater. Mine is going down nicely. I use it as a lazy extra serve of vegetables – in almost everything. Other than in a homemade dragon bowl, I like it in a wrap with some fried tofu, to give a stir-fry an extra kick and even in an omelette.

Do you like Kimchi? Have you made it? What are your tips?


Check out the crazy Hot Knives guys.

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