Thursday, March 6, 2008

Kimchi

The other day I had a sudden, inexplicable craving for kimchi, so I decided to try to make it. This was definitely a splurge project--the ingredients I had to buy really added up, but I had a blast making it and now have some smelly cabbage fermenting away in the pantry. In a day or two I'll be able to sample it and see if it worked.

Pictures definitely will be added soon.

The process of making kimchi is kind of like making sauerkraut--it's salted cabbage that you ferment--but kimchi includes the added bonus risk of chili burn! You have to be careful not to touch the chili paste when you're mixing and packing the kimchi.

I'm not going to give detailed instructions here--you can google it. But the basic process is kind of fun. You take Napa cabbage or bok choy, cut it in half, and sprinkle copious amounts of salt on each leaf. Then you let it sit for 3-4 hours, during which time the salt lyses the cabbage's cells, releasing lots of water. Then you rinse it, squeeze as much additional liquid out as possible, and mix it with a homemade chili paste. The chili paste has a bunch of stuff in it, including garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. Yeah--this is smelly stuff.

I used two heads of cabbage and have half a gallon of kimchi to show for it. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with it all--any ideas?

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