Tag Archives: fermentation

Cold and spicy – kimchi babies

16 Jan

Tossing cabbage for kimchi

We didn’t have a white Christmas this year but we are currently enjoying a bit of a winter wonderland.  We woke up yesterday morning to about an inch of snow.  Now I realize that only in Oregon (and California, I guess) would an single inch of snow be worth mentioning.  We hardly get any snow (some winters we don’t see any at all) so when snow sticks around for more than an hour or so, it’s a big deal.

Bearded, bespectacled man in a red and white 49ers sweater playing in the snow and making a snowman.

Nate had today off of work so he spent the morning making a snowman.  Check out his awesome sweater.  As a kid his favorite NFL team was the 49ers so when I saw this sweater for a few dollars at a thrift store, I had to pick it up for him.

I think that one of the best types of food to accompany cold weather is spicy food.  Nate thinks that one of the best types of food regardless of the weather is spicy food.  So, we decided to make kimchi today.  Nate had picked up a giant package of Korean red pepper flakes in Portland over the Summer.  We walked a few blocks in the slush to the natural food grocery store and bought everything else we needed.

A metal bowl of chopped cabbage and a white plastic bowl of bright red kimchi paste.

After learning that they shared a love for it, one of Nate’s favorite customer’s gave him a recipe for homemade kimchi.  The recipe comes from online Korean cooking star Maangchi, whose website is a treasure trove of cute cooking instructional videos and tasty recipes.

Tossing cabbage for kimchi

We made a few adaptations to Maangchi’s easy kimchi recipe.  Instead of Napa cabbage, we used savoy (it was all they had in stock at the store) and we adapted the recipe for approximately four pounds of cabbage.  We also omitted the fish sauce in the kimchi paste, replacing it with a little soy sauce.  I don’t usually have an aversion to fish sauce but we had made this recipe before and with one cup of fish sauce, I found it to be a little too fishy.  Rather than just cut back on the fish sauce, we decided to cut it out entirely so that we could share the kimchi with our vegetarian friends (if we don’t eat it all ourselves first)!

Photograph of a man mixing red kimchi paste onto chopped cabbage.

I recently happened upon another recipe for kimchi on the Splendid Table website.  The recipe is from The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels.  I find it really interesting to see the differences between two recipes for the same thing.  Maangchi’s recipe has more julienning (a task I’m not particularly fond of) so next time I may try the recipe from The Korean Table.

Holding up a container of finished kimchi.

This large container of kimchi is now making itself at home in our refrigerator.  It takes a while to develop the sour, fermented taste when kept at cold temperatures, so we put a little kimchi in a small, separate container and left it on the counter.  Tomorrow, if it smells sour and looks bubbly, it will go into the fridge with a head-start on its fermentation.

Now we just need to figure out what to do with all of this kimchi.  We’ll snack on it little by little, but I’ve been eying a few recipes that should help use it up.  Maangchi has a recipe for kimchi stew with pork belly (or tuna) and tofu.  The Splendid Table has a recipe from Ming Tsai for pork kimchi with noodles.  And, of course, there is the ever popular kimchi fried rice.  Do you have a favorite recipe that uses kimchi?  With all of this kimchi, I’m definitely looking for recommendations!