There are many kinds of kimchi. The wombok (napa) cabbages are fermented in quarters, and a thick paste is made with sweet glutinous rice porridge, thinly cut vegetables, spices and Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru).
The traditional way is where the cabbage quarters are salted and softened, rinsed, covered with the paste, and then wrapped around themselves. These little parcels are then layered and pressed into a crock with whatever remains of the paste being used to fill any gaps. The outside leaves of the cabbage are placed on top, and the kimchi is fermented for 5 days or so before being transferred to cold storage.
There is a lot of hands on work here, so making traditional Tongbaechu-kimchi presents the perfect opportunity to put the energy of love into our food. Korean people often eat this kimchi as is, without any fermentation, or after only 1 or 2 days have passed.
Kimchi + fermented wild rice bowl
The magic begins!
“Kimchi is an everyday need.”
KIMCHI (Khiam’s mama’s quick vegetarian version)
- 1 x organic Wombok – cut lengthwise into quarters and remove the core.
- Cut each quarter into wide strips.
- Salt cabbage with 1/4 cup Him. salt, lightly massage and add clean water to cover.
- Place plate on top and weigh down.
- Stand for 1-2 hours.
- Rinse and drain under cool water 3 times in colander.
- Drain 15 minutes.
- Make paste: 1 tablespoon garlic ( approx.3 cloves – too much garlic can make the end result a tad bitter), 1 teaspoon ginger.
- teaspoon rapadura, 3 tablespoons water.
- Mix in Gochugaru (dried pepper) 1 tablespoon makes a nice spice or up to 3 tablespoons for more fire.
- Gently squeeze water from cabbage and return to clean bowl with 1 cup daikon (white radish) and carrot – both cut into even size sticks (not too thin or too thick).
- Add chopped shallots / leeks or both including the green + paste.
- Pack into jar, pressing down until completely submerged with brine (don’t add water).
- Leave headspace and close Fido.
- Place on deep saucer or glass bowl.
- Place out of direct sunlight at room temperature and cover with tea towel.
- Taste test at 3- 5 days.
- You may like to leave up to 2 weeks.
- Transfer to fridge, when to your taste buds.
- Best after another week or two refrigerated.
“To ferment your own food is to lodge a small but eloquent protest – on behalf of the senses and the microbes – against the homogenization of flavours and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe.
It is also a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we remain passive consumers of its standardized commodities, rather than creators of idiosyncratic products expressive of ourselves and of the places where we live, because your pale ale or sourdough bread or kimchi is going to taste nothing like mine or anyone else’s.”– Michael Pollan
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