Kim Chi is a condiment I came to love growing up in Hawaii. It’s a Korean dish of fermented spicy vegetables. Typically it’s cabbage, sometimes with cucumbers and radish mixed in. It’s also spelled “kim chee”, “kimchee”, or “gimchee”. It’s all the same stuff. To make it you can always use cayenne pepper, some salt and sugar, maybe some vinegar, and a few other spices. However, I wanted authentic kim chi. So I asked my Korean friend Jay to ask his mother how she does it. They came from Korea about 10 years ago so if anyone knows authentic kim chi, it’s them.
I typically make mine with napa cabbage, cucumber, and korean radish or daikon (the thin white strips above). I suppose you could get away with just adding sriracha to it and letting it sit, but I’m not half-assing it. She said to get the korean red peppers and sea tangles. I said sure to the first part and “what the heck” to the latter. What’s a sea tangle? As it turns out, it’s just another name for a thick type of seaweed or algae.
Make sure it’s the thick kelp sheets in your asian grocery store. It’s called Da Shi Ma. Be sure to explain to someone who helps you. Da Shi Da is MSG. You don’t want that. You’re going to use them to thicken the water and add a seaweed flavor. I was told to put a ton so it’s really thick, but I didn’t want to overdo it. After soaking, I fried the kelp strips in olive oil for a crispy movie snack and sprinkled sea salt on it. It’s really good!
I like my kim chi spicy so load up on that ground red peppers. Aside from heat, the chili pepper is going to keep your food safe from spoilage because it’s too hostile of an environment for bacteria to thrive. Since you’ll be FERMENTING this, it’s very important.
Now it’s ready to age. I let mine sit on the counter for a few weeks then put them outside on the cold patio for a few more. You want a tangy flavor at the least. I’m told the older people like it REALLY tangy so they let it spoil a lot longer. I’ll pass on that.
Survey says….ooooh baby that’s got a kick! Next time, I’ll thicken up the water a bit since I like a goopy kim chi, but this’ll do. It’s got enough spice to satisfy even the craziest of spice lovers.
1 head napa cabbage
4 sheets kelp (dashima)
2 qts water
1 cup ground red pepper
3 head garlic, minced
1″ ginger, minced
1 bunch green onions, slivered or sliced
2 t sugar
1 white radish or daikon, sliced thinly
1 cucumber, thinly sliced or sliced into semi circles
salt to taste
Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat and add the kelp to the water and steep for for 20 minutes. Remove kelp and save for snacking (optional). Add pepper, garlic, and ginger and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off and add your vegetables. Let cool a bit and taste for salt addition. Put in jar (preferably glass, but I didn’t have any) and pour in peppery sauce to fill. Let sit for minimum of 2 weeks, but the longer the better. Taste at 2 weeks and if it’s not tangy, let sit another 2 weeks.
It would go perfectly with some Kal Bi.
*next up…Stumbling Goat Bistro…*
Filed under: my grindz |