18 August 2010

My go-to kimchi

When I embarked on my self-improvement course of learning how to cook Korean food, I knew that one of the first things I needed to learn was how to make a good kimchi.  Kimchi, one of the hallmarks of Korean cuisine, is served with almost everything!

After reading a bunch of recipes and experimenting a few times at home, I've finally come up with a green cabbage kimchi that is now my go-to recipe.  It makes a great contrast to rich and hearty foods, cleansing the palate with its vegetable base and stimulating the appetite with its spice and savory brine.  All that said, though, I still think my favorite way to eat it is simply with a bowl of steamed rice.  The cool, pungent, spicy cabbage and carrots over soft, hot steamed rice is such an amazing combination--it's total comfort food.

Since I like my kimchi on the less-fermented end of the spectrum, I am totally happy eating it after letting the cabbage marinate in its fish sauce brine for just an hour.  With this recipe, you can enjoy a tasty, easy-to-make kimchi in a hurry!  Of course, if you want yours more fermented, as traditional kimchi is, just let it sit out at room temperature for a day or two.

From what I hear, kimchi is generally prepared in large batches, as it is one of the most common side dishes served at a Korean meal and families can eat through a lot of it in a few days.  However, since I don't make traditional Korean meals all that frequently, I've scaled this down to size that will last me for just about a week.  Here it is...green cabbage kimchi!  Yum!

Easy Yangbaechu Kimchi (양배추 김치)
Green Cabbage Kimchi
Makes about 6 cups

1 lb. green cabbage, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. roasted sesame seeds
1 whole carrot, julienned (cut into 2-inch matchsticks)
1 Tbs. finely minced garlic
1 Tbs. finely minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 Tbs. Korean red chili powder (gochugaru,고추가루)
1/4 cup fish sauce

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil, then add the julienned carrot and blanch for 30 seconds.  Immediately drain carrots and rinse in cold water until thoroughly cooled.

Place cabbage and carrot in a large non-reactive bowl and sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over.  Toss to coat all pieces evenly with the seasonings, then let the flavors meld for about an hour or so at room temperature (or 1-2 days, for a more fermented flavor).  Store any leftover in the refrigerator.


Jonathan said...

For some reason, this kind of reminds me of when I went to the Kimchi museum in Korea ;p

When are you going to embark on your Washoku Journey?!

erica said...

haha, maybe once I feel comfortable in Korean cuisine I'll start into washoku...I gotta keep some kind of focus! :)

The Church Cook said...

Erica, I think you must have been a Korean in your previous life! Your kimchi recipe & photo look just beautiful! I love your Ddeok recipe, too! This is from one who was born and raised in Korea. :) Great posts!

erica said...

Hi Kay, thanks so much! I am totally falling in love with Korean cuisine--I only wish I had a few more Korean friends living nearby who could show me the way around in their kitchens :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

That is some fierce kimchi. This is my first visit here but it will not be my last. I love your blog and will be back often to see what you've been cooking. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

corbie said...

mmmm! i love kimchi (and kimchi fried rice)!

can't wait to try this one :D

Anonymous said...

Wow... this is a western style korean traditional pickle everyone can make these days. I added jalapeno peppers for more spiciness on top of the red pepper flakes, and kimchi juice (from store-bought kimchi) to kick start the fermentation process.

erica said...

Oh, what a great idea to add the jalapeno! Having that extra kick of spice sounds amazing! :)

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