Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kimchi: a follow up

When I did  research on the brined Korean staple, sources suggested that the first written mention of Kimchi was in the Chinese poetry tome Sigyeong 1000 BC. Sadly though I could not find any English translations. Instead I thought I would make my own. Not Korean or Chinese but a Japanese Haiku, the Japanese also have a long tradition of using Kimchi. I have not written a Haiku since middle school when we first learned about the complex form of poetry. This doesn't promise to be any better than my grade seven attempt but here goes. My ode to Kimchi


Deep green cabbage kept,

Turning, rancid rank, odiferous,

Eating winter treat.

As for the Kimchi that I made, I would have to put into the "not bad at all category". Saying that though, I have no idea what it should taste like. I have only ever had it once or twice before over a span of a decade. Thus my experience with the culinary treat it very, very limited. The first word that comes to mind is "funky", I could literally taste the fermentation in my mouth. The version I made did not include fish sauce as it appears it wasn't all that common in the first Kimchi's.  "Chimchae" an early version of Kimchi is translated as vegetables in salt and later the "dongchimi" vegetables pickled in salt and water. Less strongly mingled with the funky flavour was the salty brine and an intense heat from the ground peppers. The very last note I detected was smokiness but that is because I had some dried chipolte hanging around.
I will definately play around with this Kimchi; I am finding lots of recipes that use it as an ingredient, also I have three jars in my fridge and I think I will be the only one in my family who will eat it.

Recipe copied from Yoga Journal and adapted from:
Quick and Easy Korean Cooking, by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee
(Chronicle books, 2009)

quick kimchi

2 Napa cabbages (I used 1 Napa & half a Chinese cabbage)
1 medium daikon radish
1/4 cup coarse salt
1 up water
4 gr. onions, cut into 2-in lengths
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs minced or grated ginger
2 tbsp Korean chili powder 
(available at most (mine did not)  Asian markets, I used 1tbsp regular chili powder 
& 1 tbsp fresh ground peppers that I had)

  1. Rinse cabbages and cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths. Peel and cut lengthwise into quarters about 1/2 in thick the daikon.
  2. Dissolve salt in water, place cabbage and daikon in large bowl, cover with salt solution and soak for 6 hrs or over night (I soaked mine for 36 hrs, after the first 24 hrs it smelled of rotten eggs)
  3. Drain vegetables, reserve liquid. Return cabbage and daikon to bowl and add in remaining ingredients. Mix Well. Pack mixture into glass jars, slowly pour reserved liquid over top, leaving 1 inch space on top. Cover tightly.
  4. Place jars in cool dark place for 2 to 3 days, depending on how pickled you like your Kimchi (I left mine for 3 days). Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
photo by me.
oops can't count syllables. 

  • Down to one jar- a friend ate 1/2 a jar by herself and took another home....I guess I  won't be the only one eating it. (11/07/09)

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