If you've had kimchi before, I don't need to explain; you understand how sad it is not to be able to have it. If you haven't had kimchi before, it's a standard--no, the standard Korean condiment or side dish. It is very spicy fermented/pickled cabbage, with other vegetables and seasonings thrown in. While many restaurants' kimchi has fish ingredients in it, all the Korean places I've been to have also had fish-free kimchi if you ask for it specifically. However, the point of kimchi is to be spicy, so while it can be easy to get vegan kimchi, nightshade-free kimchi has been a longtime unfulfilled fantasy of mine.
Well, readers, it is a fantasy NO LONGER! It is A REALITY. I am seriously excited about this, if you can't tell from all those capital letters. This recipe has been years in the making. Over the last three (almost four!) years, I've scoured cookbooks and the internet for dozens of kimchi recipes, and took a little from here, a little from there, picked and chose the methods I thought would work best, experimented with fermenting and pickling other foods, and brainstormed. When a big old napa cabbage came in my CSA order a couple weeks ago, I knew it was time.
boyfriend thought it had a good kick. We had some with dinner last night and my mouth burned a little and I was halfway through a spontaneous happy dance before I even registered I was dancing. That's how good kimchi is. And it's BACK IN MY LIFE.
Blog readers, I present to you my baby. Some notes before you get started:
- You don't need to have a large mason jar to make it, but you do want a large glass sealable container of some sort.
- Because you're fermenting things here, you're going to want to sterilizer said glass container. You can do this by submerging it in boiling water for 10 seconds.
- Use the freshest ingredients you can. Your tastebuds and stomach will thank you.
- Making the kimchi is a two-day process, then you store it for 4 days, so if you want a meal with kimchi, you'll have to plan ahead!
Makes a lot of servings.
1 large napa cabbage
4-5 scallions (I used a whole bunch but found this to be too many; I'd say half a bunch, which I estimate to be 4-5, will be best)
6 cloves of garlic
2-inch chunk or a little larger of ginger
2 (small) carrots or 1 large one
black pepper, and sichuan pepper, if you can get it, ground
Get a large bowl and fill it with very salty water--I'd say 1/2 cup of salt for 4-6 cups of water. Dissolve the salt in the water.
Wash your cabbage well, then chop into 2-inch chunks. Put the cabbage into the salt water. To stop it from floating, put a plate on top of it in the bowl,, then put something heavy on top of the plate. Like so:
Now this part that sounds tricky, but isn't really. Because everything's fermenting, any bits of vegetable that are floating above the liquid could end up with mold on them, so you want everything to be submerged. Easier said than done though, right? A simple way to keep things from being exposed to air is to stuff a ziplock bag in on top of the kimchi. Fill the ziplock bag with water until the water-filled ziplock bag fills the empty space in the kimchi jar. Fold the sides of the plastic bag over the sides of the glass container, and close the lid, around the plastic bag.
After 4-6 days, remove the zip lock bag and enjoy!
|Kimchi with tofu fishsticks (the boyfriend says I make this dish more often than any other. If this is a bad thing, I don't want to be good), wasabi sauce, greens, and miso-sesame mashed sweet potatoes.|