Kitchen Garden Journal
- Published on Monday, September 20, 2010, 03:01
My recent batch: daikon radish with its greens, napa with carrots and pears
From watching Maangchi I’ve come to understand that kimchi is comprised of essentially two elements: a salted vegetable and a “sauce” of salt, sugar, hot pepper powder and aromatics like garlic, ginger, and scallions. It takes a little thinking ahead to salt the vegetables but it comes together very quickly and you can eat it for months.
For the salted cabbage:
1 head napa cabbage
Kosher salt or sea salt
For the kimchi sauce:
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup rice flour or AP flour
¼ cup sugar
½ cup fish sauce or 1 ½ Tbsp salt
½ daikon radish, cut into julienne strips
1 head garlic, minced
½ inch piece of ginger, minced
½ cup Korean hot pepper powder
3 scallions cut into 2” pieces
Wash the head of cabbage, carefully rinsing any dirt away from the base of the outer leaves. Pat dry and cut cabbage into 4 quarters. The leaves should be attached at the core. In a large bowl or wash basin sprinkle the cabbage quarters all over and between the leaves with the salt, massaging gently. Leave for approximately 1 hour. Turn the cabbage over and leave for another hour. You will see that the leaves have wilted considerably and a lot of liquid has accumulated. Rinse the cabbage in three changes of water, squeeze them gently to expel the water and set aside.
Meanwhile, assemble the ingredients for the sauce. Mix the water and flour in a small pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, turn off the heat and allow to cool. Add the sugar and fish sauce or salt. Add the other ingredients and mix well. It should be a gravy-like texture and sticky, not watery. Taste it. It should taste like kimchi but sweeter. It should not be overly salty tasting. If it’s not spicy enough for your taste you can add more hot pepper. Same goes for the garlic, etc. In addition to the daikon, you can add other vegetables if you like, such as carrots.
Spread the sauce all over the cabbages and between the leaves and put them into a plastic container with any of the remaining sauce. Leave it out at room temperature for 1 day, then refrigerate. You can eat it right away or wait a while. The flavor will gradually go from sweet to sour as it ferments. It will keep indefinitely, but it is best if eaten within 2-3 months. To serve, cut cabbage with scissors into bite sized pieces.
Watch Maangchi make it here.