There are many different varieties of kimchi – Korea’s national dish. Recipes vary from region to region and preparation methods differ from family to family – so much so that you’re never going to really find one, true, authentic Kimchi recipe. Keeping that in mind I think the best you can do is make the stuff to suit your tastes. The ingredients you can actually get hold of will also dictate the direction your kimchi takes. That said, you’re going to need Korean red pepper powder (Gochugaru) at the very least so do your best to hunt some down. You can buy it online from Sous Chef, along with the anchovy sauce I use in my recipe.
The recipe I followed is taken heavily from the Momofuku kimchi recipe but I replace some ingredients with those that I was able to source.
My last batch is about a week old now and is really starting to hum. It’s incredible stuff – hot but nothing that’s going to leave you gasping for air. It’s more the fizz you get from the fermentation alongside the pungent, sweet garlic background and salty fish sauce. And – it’s versatile. You can eat it on its own, use it as an ingredient in other dishes or, as recommended by Hawksmoor, use it as an amazing relish for burgers.
Here’s what you’ll need
- 1 Chinese cabbage
- 2 tablespoons sugar + another 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 whole bulbs of garlic, broken into cloves
- 1 large piece of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of Korean red pepper powder (Gochugaru)
- 2 tablespoons of anchovy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 handful of sliced spring onion
- 1 handful of shredded carrot.
Cut the cabbage lengthways and then into 1 inch cross-sections. Place in a bowl and cover with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the salt – making sure all the pieces are coated. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
Rinse the cabbage in cold, running water and allow to drain for a few minutes.
The gochugaru, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, anchovy sauce, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar go into a bowl. Whizz them up with a hand-held mixer until you make a coarse paste – you will probably need to add a dash of water just to get things moving.
Add the drained cabbage, spring onion and carrot to the paste and coat well.
Store in sealed jars – pressing the mixture down to try to remove any air bubbles.
Leave it for a week at least – just to get things really moving.
When you’ve made it once and given it a good try, you’ll always want to have some handy. It’s a beautiful thing.
Tags: cabbage, ferment, kimchi, korea
By John Loydall