Open the Jar-Kimchi Making in Winter July 2012
A cold but totally still and clear day should not be wasted in mid winter.
We set up a wee work station in the sun outside and after some searching the rather damp and muddy garden for goods we set about on a kimchi making mission.
Totally non traditional -so all traditionalist best move on immediately-often when Im up at the inlaws it is about using what is on hand from the garden or what is in the pantry.
Cathy my mother in law has asked for a few things so we could make a batch of kimchi but me being me I forgot some vital ingredients after a somewhat hectic and disastrous Friday that involved a truck and it almost squashing us.....another story.
So kimchi was made during warmer months but laid down over winter to ferment and do its delicious thing. Oysters were used in place of fish sauce traditionally but I quite like the sharpness that the fish sauce brings to my kimchi and I generally would use the dried Korean chillies that are sweet and quite mild. They give really nice colour as well.
As this kimchi was not going to go into the fridge but rather into the root cellar where it was pretty cold most of the time we packed into a jar in layers of cabbage then daikon then cabbage again. Traditional kimchi pots can be spotted about the place in Korea and are still used in areas to actually ferment the cabbage in the ground. You may even be lucky enough to buy one at a good Korean supermarket and they are best stored somewhere nice and cold with an even temperature.
What I like about pickling is you can use anything at all you have on hand-cabbage is great as it is cheap and plentiful and comes in so many varieties that you can have all sorts of different textures and tastes. Daikon is one of my favourites to get going as you can quickly pickle for a really crunchy texture or let it sit for a while to get really great full flavour from it.
Wonderful just as it is as a side dish or even better add it into eggs and create a kimchi pancake. You can stir fry and add into noodles or into a clay pot with tofu and steam it for a good 20 mins to allow all those really pungent fishy, chilli, garlic flavours take hold of the tofu. Jelly tofu is one of my favourites and a wee bit added in is magical!
So...we finally did get there and the next day was a stunning clear day for us to sit and make our batch of non traditional kimchi
half a Daikon, washed and sliced finely
a mini cabbage from the garden -not an Asian variety but just a good old fashioned one that was rather ‘lacy’ from slugs -sliced and chopped to your desired thickness fish sauce 2 T
salt -about 1/4 C
7-8 cloves garlic
4cm piece ginger , grated
7-8 dried chillies
3 T white miso paste
1 C water
So into the mortar went the garlic, some of the salt, fish sauce and chillies which were pounded until they formed a nice paste.
Into a large bowl went all the sliced cabbage and was well mixed with the garlic and chilli paste.
Into the cabbage I added the remaining salt as well as the miso paste and a dash more fish sauce. I must say at this stage I just wanted to stir fry it up and eat it ! It smelt great!
Once super well mixed I began packing it into a clean jar in layers of cabbage then daikon then cabbage again adding a wee bit of the water as I went.
Cathy and Pete will try not to eat it before it ripens which will be about 3 weeks in this cold. In warmer weather it starts fermenting pretty fast so keep an eye on it but I prefer to house in the fridge and I try to get through it all in around 3 weeks so I tend to make a large batch and give most of it away.