***Shared on December 12, 2011 at Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday’s.
***Photo courtesy of e.m.marcus | photography.
This is the time of year when I love to make kimchi and sauerkraut. A traditional fermented Korean dish, kimchi is made with a variety of vegetables and a mix of spices. I usually like to make Kimchi with Napa Cabbage from Dragonfly Fields, but the cabbages aren’t quite ready yet. I haven’t done any fermenting since spring and was anxious to start a batch, so I decided to make a sort of hodgepodge root based kimchi. I had a discussion with my friend Sheuh-Mei about which style I would make, Chinese or Korean, with her describing the subtle differences. I have to admit, my style of kimchi making is probably best described as Sandorkraut Style, inspired by the self proclaimed fermenting fetishist Sandor Katz. Kimchi is a wonderful source of nutrition: low in calories, high in fiber, rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 & B2, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and beneficial lactic acid bacteria. So, without further ado, here’s my rendition of the season’s first batch of kimchi.
Ingredients I used (basically, what was at hand):
- daikon radish – root and tops (Dragonfly Fields)
- dragon carrots (my garden)
- sweet baby bells (thanks Kevin)
- hot pepper to taste (gift from friend, so not sure what variety)
- 2-3 tablespoons of fresh ginger (my garden)
- garlic to taste
- 3-4 tablespoons of kosher salt (I also use sea salt)
- First, make the brine by mixing the salt with about 4 cups of water or enough water to cover the vegetables. I usually make my kimchi in a 2 gallon food grade plastic bucket because I have a bunch of them, but it can be made in any glass, ceramic, or stoneware container.
- Chop the radish, carrot, and baby bells into bite size pieces. Get creative here. Feel free to add onions, parsnips, burdock, cabbage, or any other vegetables that might be appropriate.
- Put the vegetables in the brine and let them soak for several hours or over night. Be sure they are submerged. I put a plate on top of mine to weigh them down.
- In the meantime, prepare the spices. Grate the ginger. Chop the garlic and the hot pepper. I further grind them together into a paste with a mortar and pestle, but that’s not necessary.
- After the vegetables have soaked, drain off and reserve the brine. You may want to rinse the veggies if they are too salty, but I like mine that way.
- Mix the spices with the veggies and pack them back into the container. I like to pack mine into glass mason jars at this point. I literally pack them in, pushing the veggies down as I fill the jar.
- Pour the reserved brine over the veggies, filling the container. Lightly cover the container, so air can get in, but dust and bugs stay out.
- Set out to ferment on kitchen counter. Be sure to either weigh down the veggies with a plate or water filled plastic baggie, so they are covered with the brine or check the kimchi daily and push the floating veggies back under the brine. I put a plate under the jar to catch any brine that spills over.
- Taste the kimchi every day. It should start to ripen within a day or two. When it is to your liking, cover the kimchi with a lid and refrigerate. It’s ready to eat!
We eat kimchi plain, right out of the jar, but search the internet for other great ways to serve it. Cook it with fried rice, add to stews, serve on top of franks, eggs, or meat dishes, or make into a savory pancake. I just love the way it looks in the jar. Enjoy!