Sunday, May 27, 2012

Of Kimchi and Kimchi Stew

I'm especially biased when it comes to Korean food. It is true that Korean food have less variations in comparison with Japanese food but something about Korean food makes me keep craving it for more. I'm sure many of you are familiar with Kimchi, which is fermented vegetables with a variety of seasoning. Since the price of Kimchi sold by local Korean restaurants or supermarkets is not exactly cheap, I decided to make my own homemade Kimchi few months ago and began searching for recipe online. There are many variations when it comes to Kimchi making in Korea, the ingredients and seasoning mostly varies depending on the region they live. 

Well, all the venturing and researching happens before I get to know Hubby's mother. After meeting her, I've learnt that she loves to make Kimchi as well and this is what I learnt from her Kimchi making experience:

1. Chop one whole Chinese Cabbage into square pieces and start throwing in a generous amount of salt and set it aside for 2 hours. Every piece of cabbage has to be covered with a thin layer salt. Don't worry about the saltiness as the cabbage has to be rinsed with running water after that. The idea of the salting process is to get rid of the water inside the cabbage through osmosis process and the cabbage should have shrunk and become softer after that. Some online recipe mentioned that it has to be soaked in cold salted water for 12 hours to get rid of the bitter taste of the cabbage. I've tried both methods and they both work the same for me. =)

2. Proceed into Kimchi paste making while waiting for the cabbage to be soaked. You can buy Gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) at Tesco or any local Korean supermarkets for the kimchi paste but if you couldn't find any, you can always start making your own paste.  

3. To make your own paste, you will need Chili flakes and Paprika powder. Easily found at any local supermarkets. 

4. Fish sauce. 

5. Garlic and ginger.

6. First of all, blend a few cloves of garlic and a few slices of ginger with a food processor or with mortar and pestle until it is paste-like. Put a few spoons of fish sauce and then as much Chili flakes and Paprika powder as you would like. Lastly, a few spoons of sugar or brown sugar to even out the spiciness. Then tadaa, your paste is ready! =D I would prefer to combine both Gochujang and the homemade paste together to accentuate the taste and aroma of the Kimchi. Again, there's no fixed recipe for Kimchi.

And this is how my paste looks like.

7. Not to forget some matchstick sizes pear or apple or radish to compliment the cabbage. You can salt this as well and set it aside for a couple of minutes. 

8. After the cabbage is soaked for 2 hours or so (make sure the cabbage is rinsed with running water), squeeze all the water out from the cabbage nicely. Same goes to the pear or apple or radish. Start mixing the paste with the cabbage and pear evenly. Store the Kimchi in a glass bottle or jar and keep it under room temperature for few days for the fermentation process to take place. I usually prefer to let it ferment for one day and the next day I would store my Kimchi in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process as I do not want my Kimchi to be too sour.

My final product. =D

Of course, if your Kimchi is too fermented and became too sour to consume, you can always make delicious Kimchi stew (Kimchi jjigae) with those. Simply add in the Kimchi with some pork belly, onion, garlic and start cooking.

Boiling Kimchi Stew!

Embryo rice to go with my Kimchi Stew. =D



Hilda Milda™ said...

It's funny how I love love love kimchijiggae but I don't like kimchi :P Never knew it's that easy to make!

XCB said...

yeappp~! haha

embryorice said...

nice embryo rice ...

Tze Kuan Chow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tze Kuan Chow said...

I like embryo rice too.