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Happy Asian New Year!

January 24, 2012

I celebrated by making Kimchi.

Traditionally, Tteokguk/Dukguk (soft Rice Cakes sliced on a bias with hot Anchovy or Meat Broth with Scallions, Roasted Seaweed, and Egg) is eaten but to be quite honest, I didn’t feel like eating it.  In short, I didn’t.  Perhaps that makes me a bad Korean.  Perhaps–lol.  When I feel like eating it, I promise to do a video on it!

You know what’s good with Tteokguk/Dukguk?  Kimchi!!  As a matter of fact, a lot of things are good when paired with Kimchi.  One of my favorite ways to eat it is with Spaghetti.  Yes, Spaghetti =D

Here is how I make my Kimchi:

I started off with 3 Medium Sized Heads of Napa Cabbage

Then, you’ll want to soak your sliced Cabbage leaves in a brine made of COLD Water + Coarse Sea Salt

For my 3 Heads, I used 3 cups of Salt and filled my gigantic bowl with plenty of water with about an inch or so on top.
*Every 30 minutes or so, you will want to turn the leaves over.*

Your Cabbage will need to soak for about 3 hours–in the meantime, you can get your Paste ready.

I particularly like the addition of Baby Brine Shrimp (this isn’t necessary and you can make this entire Kimchi Vegan by subbing the Fish Sauce/Shrimp for Soy Sauce, but I find that the taste is never the same).

They have such a wide variety of Baby Brine Shrimp and I always keep it in my fridge.  It imparts such nice flavor and provides a great salty bite!  Plus, it lasts forever!!!
(These are just a few brands)

This is what your Paste will begin with:

  • 3 c Pepper Flakes (the bag from yesterdays Haul)
  • 3 c Shredded/Julienned Korean Radish/Daikon
  • 6 sliced Green Onions
  • 2-3 sliced Korean Hot Peppers 
  • 1 tb Baby Brine Shrimp
  • 2 tb Roasted Sesame Seed

Additionally, you could also add shredded Carrots, Sliced Cucumbers, etc.

To this “bed,” you’ll also be adding this mixture (using a food processor to blitz the whole thing makes life so much easier)!

This is:
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 Apple (any sweet variety is good–you can also use a Pear)
  • 2/3 c Fish Sauce
  • 1 tb Ginger
  • 9-12 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 tb Sugar

Add this to your “Paste Bowl”

Mix it well and it’ll look like this:

The final step for the Paste (I promise) =D
You’ll also be adding a Rice Flour base to this as well (totally optional but I like it because it adds a very nice texture to the Kimchi and really helps to adhere the sauce onto the wet Cabbage).

Love this stuff!  You can make Mochi and Kimchi with it!!

Combine 1/2 c Sweet Rice Flour + 2 tb Sugar + 3 c Water …whisk constantly with the heat set on medium and cook until it thickens and bubbles.  It will coat a spoon like this when it’s ready.
*Make sure the Rice Flour “Sauce” is cooled down before adding it to your Red Paste:

Combine well.

*After 3 hours or so, your Cabbage should be nicely wilted.  Drain and rinse a couple times, squeeze out any excess moisture (or if you’re lazy, you can just leave it in an elevated Colander for 1-2 hours and pat whatever is left with a paper towel).

You’re now ready to pile on your Paste.

Shielding your hands with gloves is important as even people with non sensitive skin will find all the Pepper action to become irritating and can sometimes stain.
Work the paste in with your hands–the heat from your hands will nicely press and melt the Paste into the leaves.  Massage and turn—repeat and repeat.
It will be done when it looks like this:

Additionally, you may also add Raw Oysters or Squid at this point.

Leave your Kimchi on your counter top for a day or so then transfer it to your fridge (unless you’ve added Raw Seafood–in this case keep it in your Fridge and allow it to begin Fermenting with the Cabbage).  I personally keep my Kimchi for 3 months or so then turn the leftover bits into Kimchi Jjigae (which fares very well with deeply fermented, soured Kimchi– (though in Korea, there are traditional spots that serve Kimchi that is several years old and according to my Pops, Kimchi never goes bad)  I suppose it depends on personal preference/taste.  If you’d like to extend the shelf life, make sure you prevent any molding by turning your Kimchi often.  With your hands or Tongs, rotate the bottom Kimchi to the top often.  Also, if you’re used to store bought Kimchi, it’s more than likely chock full of preservatives.  This should last you a bit longer.

*Reserve 1 cup to make another dish!*
I used mine to make a quick spicy Cabbage slaw!  (No need to salt, just rub in the left over paste and TADA)!

I made about 2 cups with the leftover Paste and since yesterday, it’s disappeared.  I ate mine like a Salad with a grilled Bratwurst.  YUUUUM!!!

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