Kimchi

(adapted by Brett Grohsgal from “the weird but great pickling cookbook” Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz). Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods. Katz has a web site as well. http://www.wildfermentation.com/ Kimchi is excellent as a spicy side dish, a snack, mixed in with with rice, in wraps, etc.  I’ve made a few minor changes in Brett’s recipe to make it easier for my family

Ingredients

  • 3 + tablespoons sea salt
  • 4 lbs. mixed or pure radishes and/or turnips
  • 2 carrots (nice for color and contrast)
  • 1 tablespoon ground raw horseradish (jars are in the grocery store seafood case)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger (A pain to grate but worth it!)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic (adjust to your taste), chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons minimum fresh chilies, dried chilies, chile flakes.  The right amount may take some experimenting.

Preparation

  • Make a brine by dissolving the salt in 4 cups of water.
  • Slice the radish, turnip, and/or carrot roots, washed but not peeled, about ¼” thick. Place into a crock, steel, glass, or ceramic bowl, or gallon jar. Pour brine over the vegetables, then weight down by putting a plate directly on top of the roots, pushing down until the brine comes to the plate’s level. Let sit overnight (no refrigeration necessary).
  • Make a paste from the chopped onion, garlic, grated ginger, horseradish, and chili. Set aside for later.
  • The next day, drain brine off of the vegetables but reserve the brine in a separate container. Taste the roots: if too salty, rinse in water. If not salty enough, add sea or Kosher salt until they are to your taste.
  • Mix the vegetables thoroughly with the onion-chili-garlic paste. Tightly pack into a large glass jar or straight-sided ceramic or glass bowl, and press down until fluid rises to the surface to just cover the vegetables. If there isn’t enough of this juice, add just enough of the reserved brine. Then weight the roots down with another jar, or a tin can protected by plastic wrap.
  • Ferment in a warm kitchen for 6 or 7 days, tasting the kimchi every day but re-covering to keep the roots barely immersed. It should be and taste ripe after the 6 or 7 days, and at that point store in the fridge. Keeps 6-7 weeks for raw eating. Thereafter, it will be quite strong, and would traditionally be used in Korea for adding to soups.

I started this last weekend.  It may sound a little fussy, but the results are fantastic.  I can’t stop eating it.  The subtle infusion of flavors, ginger, garlic, onion, a bite of black pepper and the crunchy texture of  a fresh apple.  I am inspired to investigate pickling more thoroughly.

Carrots would have added color, and I will certainly use them next time.

Another unexpected turnip recipe I also recommend Chinese Turnip Cakes from Blog #6.

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