It’s nearly impossible to talk about Korean culture without mentioning the healthy and delicious representative food, kimchi, the pride of Korea.
There are actually quite a few different types of “kimchi’s”, spicy, fermented vegetables, but Chinese Cabbage is usually the first one we always think of, though radish is very common too.
Korean people usually have a preference for either fresh kiimchi or sour kimchi, which has been fermented. Personally I love them both because they are so delicious and healthy, but I really really love the sour kimchi. It’s similar to sauerkraut though spicier and it’s absolutely fantastic with a number of other dishes that I will teach about later like: Bujimgay, Kimchi Bokembop, Dalk-kalbi and kimchi chigae. The sour flavour makes my taste buds crazy with joy.
The cool thing is it’s very easy to make so I’ll explain it to you right now.
Step 1: Get a head of Chinese cabbage, wash it and cut it up.
Step 2: Put in a bucket and sprinkle pickling salt over it. Don’t put too much.
Step 3: Get some ginger root, garlic and mix these ingredients in your blender. Also add about spoon of “fish sauce” which you can find at Asian Markets for every head of Chinese cabbage. Use about 2 tbsp of ginger and 7 or 8 garlic cloves, or to your taste.
Step 4: Make a 3/4 cup of rice flour gravy in a pot (wheat flour is ok too). Next, take the blended ginger/garlic mixture and add it to the rice gravy mixture along with a half cup of red pepper powder from a Korean supermarket (Gojuch karoot) they call it. Some people like to use a full cup of red pepper powder. It depends on your spicy-preference.
Step 5: After 4 or 5 hours of letting the cabbage sit with the pickling salt, rinse the cabbage with fresh cold water and take the mixture from Step 4 and coat it all over the cabbage. After done you can eat it right away or store away in air-tight containers in the fridge.
Step 5: Enjoy your kimchi! If you let it sit outside for a day or two it will turn sour and more tasty in my opinion. After souring for a day or two outside the fridge, however, put it back in the fridge so it doesn’t start to spoil. Usually a day or two of fermenting is perfect.
The truth is Chinese cabbage is already one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet and by adding the ginger and garlic, this really becomes a bonafide “Super Food”. So give this recipe a try and enjoy! Special note: Kimchi does get quite odorful as it turns sour. So be careful if you plan to open up a big container of it in your public lunch room.
I’m going to write several more articles talking about my favorite Korean foods. I love sour kimchi so much that I’ve frequently thought of making a restaurant here in Canada.
Stay tuned for my favorite Korean foods coming soon. Their diet is really much healthier than our Western style of eating.