Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fermented Spicitude

I am embarassed to say that there is kimchi in our refrigerator that has been there almost as long as we have lived in Santa Fe. It has seen the back of three refrigerators, and is nearly 1/2 gallon in quantity. Tristan claims this stuff is still edible. In an attempt to coax him to throw the stuff away and stop attempting to serve it to loved ones, I'm making a new batch.

The cabbage I am using is from the farmer's market. Green onion, white onion, and garlic all = homegrown.

Before you begin, you should note that the first step requires 4 hours for the salted cabbage to bleed moisture. Make sure you don't get cranking at midnight.

1 medium Napa cabbage
salt (enough to thoroughly salt the leaves)
1 small head of garlic, peeled and finely minced
one 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup Korean chili powder (this is hard to find in NM. The first time I made kimchi I used regular red pepper flakes, like what you'd put on pizza)
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 teaspoon sugar
(rubber gloves-optional)

Step 1. Half your Napa cabbage, then slice just the core (not the leaves) through each of the halves.
Step 2. Salt the cabbage in between each set of leaves, focusing more salt on the core area than on the ends of the leaves. Let rest for 2 hours, turn, let rest for 2 more hours.
Step 3. Drain and rinse the cabbage, squeeze as much excess water out as possible. Cut the cabbage into large but manageable chunks.
Step 4. Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl. This and the next step are generally done by hand, but you may want to wear rubber gloves to avoid fish sauce hands and/or burned body parts.
Step 5. Mix the cabbage and paste thoroughly (easiest with your hands). Pack into a clean glass jar and cover loosely (I just put the lid on but don't screw it shut to allow gas to escape during fermentation).
Step 6. Let sit in a relatively cool room temp area, out of direct sunlight, for 2 days, or until bubbling, and then refrigerate.


Benjamin Kalish said...

Yay! I've been thinking of trying my hands at kimchi for a while now, and you seem to have posted this recipe at the perfect time from my perspective.

One question though: I just received some regular cabbage from the CSA. Do you think it would make good kimchi? Or is it important that I use a nappa cabbage?

Libby: said...

Hey Ben!

I have never made kimchi with regular cabbage, but I'm sure it would work. It would have a different texture, and the salting process might be more difficult because the leaves are pretty waxy and tightly packed. If you do make kimchi with it, let me know how it turns out! Otherwise, make some good old fashioned sauerkraut!

Abby said...

I'm pretty sure I refused to eat that ancient Kimchi, but I think Matthew had some. So far, he's still alive.