spicy pickled cabbage, the national dish of Korea.
Kimchi. Yum. If you have never tried it, please. I beg of you. When you are done reading this make some. It’s so delicious. It’s garliky and spicy with this super pleasant…funk.
Yes funk can be pleasant.
It has this very slight sourness to it. Kimchi is spicy pickled cabbage, the pickle comes from the fermenting. The nice thing about making your own kimchi is that you can control the amount of tang you get in your batch. My husband and my brother really like a strong ferment which imparts a really pronounced sour taste, this can be accomplished with a longer, room temperature ferment. I like a subtle tang , which is accomplished with a cold refrigerator ferment.
Guess which fermentation method I use?
Winter AND Traditional (?) Kimchi
I used to be quite scared of the fermentation process, but people have been fermenting as long as…well…as long as there have been people. I am always comforted by this because I like to think that cleanliness has been improved. Cleanliness is important. As is the salt. You have to thoroughly salt your cabbage and you have to make sure the jars and utensils you are using are very clean. Other than that it’s pretty worry free. Humans have evolved to know when something is bad for them. If you open your jar and it has a unappetizing sourness you probably shouldn’t eat it. It should smell sour but in an intriguing way. Not in a terrifying way. Your nose has got your back. Listen to it.
Look at the Gochugaru!
See those gorgeous red flecks? That is Gochugaru. Gochugaru are Korean Chili Flakes. They are the type of chili traditionally used in Kimchi. A quick internet browse will suggest you can use pretty much any chili flakes you might have on hand. I highly suggest using the Gochugaru. I have made a batch with regular red chili flakes while it was tasty I had an intense yearning to make it with the traditional chili , and then I did. And I have never looked back. I use this Kimchi Chile/Gochugaru. I know it seems pricey, but it lasts a long time. For every head of cabbage you only use about a 1/3 cup of chili flakes. Gochugaru is such a good chili you can use it on eggs or pretty much anything else you can think of, so it’s not the worst investment!
Eat it by the spoonful. Or Forkful.
Kimchi is a great condiment. My brother eats it by the spoonful. You can too.
I prefer it as a condiment. It’s great on sandwiches, thrown on tacos, my husband dips raw veggies in it. It is good with white rice. It is great in fried rice…make that ” life changing” in fried rice. LIFE CHANGING. Spam and Kimchi fried rice has become my official birthday dinner request for the last couple of years. It is insane. You should make it. I can’t adapt it, or explain it any better than this buzzfeed article Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice . It is perfect as Chef Dale Talde explains it, and Christine Byrne writes it.
Kimchi two ways.
So every Christmas I struggle with gifts. I hate getting someone something they won’t use, or something that isn’t meaningful. I have the worst time picking something out for my brother. HE IS PICKY. And just a “touch” critical (touch = HUGELY).
My brother loves kimchi. Probably close to as much as he loves his children. He will bring me a bag of ingredients and ask me to make him a batch of kimchi. If he even suspects that I have recently made some…well I better show up with a jar within a couple of days. He loves it.
So guess what he got this year?
Instagram you filter so pretty (Me on Instagram).
Merry Christmas Big Brother.
Make your own big batch of Kimchi (Two ways!) or 12 batches…