kimchi! vegan kimchi!

2 February 2012

Kimchi is SO good.  It is also SO expensive, really.

I’m into fermented foods these days, and have made my own batch or kimchi, I made some years ago with a Korean friend, and dithered a bit in finding a substitute for fish sauce, which was a key ingredient.

My recipe is simple, and as I really wanted to make it and then eat it as soon as possible I wilted the cabbage for only a few hours.  Recipes I had found involved anything from 45 minutes to 24 hours or salting the cabbage, and sometimes even longer…

Yum!

So, here’s what I used:

One smallish daikon radish, peeled, and sliced into half circles.

Three pak choi cabbages, washed and chopped in lengths of about 3-2cms.  I wanted Chinese cabbage but was not able to get one, this worked out ok, though I think pak choi is slightly bitter.

One medium onion, sliced.

These I wilted with lots of salt, in one of my biggest soup pots.  I spread a layer of chopped cabbage and sprinkled with about a teaspoon of rock salt, another layer and sprinkled with salt, and so on till the pot was full.  I did the same thing to the chopped daikon and sliced onion, I managed to fit it all in one big pot, with a plate between each different food layer, the salt needs to be washed off again, so it’s easier if they are not all mixed in at first.

While you let this sit, I waited about two hours, you will see quite a lot of water come away, you can make up the spicy paste!  Yum!

I used:
About 2/3 tablespoons of both (fresh) crushed garlic and (bought) crushed ginger and two tablespoons (bought) chili paste, this spicy goodness I combined with about 1/4 cup lemon juice and a cup of tamari sauce.  I was keen to use all fresh garlic, ginger and chili as you can taste the preservatives, but due to small people’s needs there were some time constraints, next time I’ll do fresh.

Now, maybe an hour or two has passed, but maybe even 24 hours has gone by, if you can wait that long!

It’s time to rinse off your salted ingredients, under running water rinse as carefully as you can, the veges become quite salty and wilted, so don’t rush this stage.

Then, all you do is get the pile of veges and mix in your spicy juicy paste mixture, go on, use both hands.  To allow this to ferment, place lids on the jars loosely, and place them on your bench out of direct sunlight, for a few days or a week.  Depending on the season, you may find a couple of days is enough, if it’s hot.

So yummy, you can sit down and eat a load now, you can scoop the mix into those glass jars you have boiled for the last five minutes, staying about one cm from the brim, topping up with any remaining liquid (the veges need to be covered), and share it around, or keep it in the refrigerator and eat it yourself!

I made a couple to give away and placed two of the sliced half circles of daikon at the top, just before I topped up the juice and screwed on the lid.

Notes:

I found the pak choi could have had more than 2 hours with the salt, also, there was still a bit of a salty residue on the leaves, so I’d probably take more care rinsing next time too.  Two tablespoons of chili paste made the kimchi fairly mild, so up it if you like it hot.  This recipe makes quite a lot of liquid, which we like to use on rice, noodles etc. you can add less tamari if you wish.

Since making this a few years back, I now use one daikon, and one large wong bok, I salt for about 2 days, and ferment for 5 – 7 days.  I have also increased the lemon juice, and add lemon zest.  Enjoy!

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