Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When life gives you cabbages, make kimchi

Maybe it's just because I need a vacation, but lately I've had a real hankering to re-live my last trip to South Korea. The recipes I've been saving have been bulgogi and bibimbap, and I've been wanting to go to this restaurant famed for its Korean fried chicken for the past few weeks.



Last night for dinner we had this grilled chicken cold noodle salad, which called for two cups of cabbage (I bought napa). That means I had about 10 cups of cabbage at my disposal.

(A side note about cabbages: from a young age, I loved Peter Rabbit and his friends' penchant for lettuces and cabbages. Those tiny rodents made eating fresh vegetables sound so roguish).

So, what to do with all the extra cabbage? I looked to my fridge to see what other ingredients I might have. And it was there, not in my fridge but on it, that I found my solution: a recipe for kimchi.

My recipe is from the Kimchi Museum (that's in Gangnam). Unfortunately for me, I can't read Korean, and the English translation is a little...awkward. Plus, I don't know where to buy tiny pickled shrimp. So I Googled some recipes and managed to come up with a general technique. Warning: I am not claiming that this is traditional or authentic, although I think it tastes pretty good. It's also not fermented for a long period of time like "real" kimchi should be. Instead, it's like the refrigerator pickle version of kimchi: ready to eat in a few hours.



Quick Kimchi 
10 cups napa cabbage, cut into squares
5 scallions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup kosher salt
3 Tbsp sriracha
3 Tbsp garlic chili sauce

Thoroughly rinse cabbage to remove any dirt and grit. Dry with paper towels and add to a very large bowl (I used a huge saucepan). Stir in scallions, garlic, ginger, vinegar, salt, sriracha and garlic chili sauce. Spoon into jars and pack down. Top each jar with water and close. (Note: this is not the most sanitary method. I'm not sure this will be safe to eat weeks down the road, but I'll report back.)

Place in fridge overnight. Enjoy by itself or in your favorite kimchi-themed recipe.

Tomorrow I'll post the dinner I made tonight with this kimchi!



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