Michael On Everything Else

Kimchi Recipe

My first batch kimchi was a success in its failures. It was way too vinegary and not nearly spicy enough. The recipe I followed to-the-letter was this one: How To Make Easy Kimchi at Home — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn. It is an easy recipe to follow and for my first attempt, it was what I needed.

Round Two

For the second attempt, I incorporated some elements of this recipe: Spring Cabbage Kimchee, the taste of home, as indicated with “†” below.

This second batch is far better. The first batch was exposed to too much air and thus turned vinegary. So much so that it was a one-hit-wonder: vinegar. It lacked any spiciness or flavor complexity and was especially missing that umami* flavor I love. I think replacing the bottled fish sauce from the first recipe with the homemade fish broth will do the trick.

I ate all of that first batch (it was nt all that bad) just in time to make room in the fridge for the second batch.

Here is the revised recipe:

Base Ingredients

1 head cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt
Big chunk of daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 carrot, cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Fish broth

Boil the following to render the broth:

1 bag dried shrimp
4 chunks dried, salted fish
1/2 bag dried silver fish

Paste

In a blender, blitz the following:

4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup of the reserved fish broth</B>
1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 apple</B>
3 tablespoon cooked rice</B>

After blending, fold in the following:

4 tablespoon gochugaru
2 tablespoon shrimp sauce</B>

Dried and salted fish, dried shrimp, dried silver fish, gochugaru (korean red pepper flakes), shrimp sauce, and final product (with lid mistakenly left open for days, doh!

Instructions (taken nearly verbatim from thekitchn.com)

  1. Cut the cabbage. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Salt the cabbage. Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1-2 hours.
  2. Rinse and drain the cabbage. Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.
  3. Make the paste. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons).
  4. Combine the vegetables and paste. Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the daikon, scallions, and seasoning paste.
  5. Mix thoroughly. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!
  6. Pack the kimchi into the jar. Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1-inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid.
  7. Let it ferment. Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1-5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
  8. Check it daily and refrigerate when ready. Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it is best after another week or two.


†. Element incorporated from this recipe; Spring Cabbage Kimchee, the taste of home