Quick and Easy Kimchi

TL;DR Version

  • Get veg.
  • Cut veg.
  • Wash veg in salty water,
  • Salt the hell out of the veg.
  • Make a seasoning of your choice that is sticky.
  • Leave the veg overnight in the salt.
  • Drain the veg in clean water otherwise it will be as salty as an old seaman called Syd.
  • Dry gently and slowly by hand (Nah, don’t be daft – just pat it down)
  • Coat every available surface of your veg in your sticky seasoning.
  • Clean yourself down, you will be v smelly and covered in seasoning glue.
  • Coat your veg again because you probably missed a bit first time.
  • Put your kimchi in lots of smaller, sterilised (boil ‘em, leave them to cool down) jars. 
  • Label these with the date.
  • Store somewhere dark and room temp. Not to cold not too hot.
  • Try the first jar in 2 weeks time. It will be carefree and young.
  • Try the next jar in two months time. It will be mature, robust and gorgeous.
  • Try the next jar in six months, it will be old, wise and sour. Lovely. 

 

Longer Version

Kit

  • Some people say wear disposable gloves but I don’t. For two reasons:
    • they are currently as rare as rocking horse shit.
    • I am an idiot.
  • A plastic container with a cover. Size? Big enough to fit all the ingredients.
  • Sealable plastic or glass containers, to store smaller amounts of the bloody delicious kimchi in so you can taste it at different stages of its amazingness.
  • Labels – always label your stored food, obviously I don’t need to tell you this, so sorry. BUT ALWAYS DO. 

 

Ingredients

  • Salt – ideally not table salt, because this comes with anti-coagulants that can retard the fermentation process.
  • Water – cold. Tap will do.
  • Vegetables

 

(Ideally) Two bunches of “Chinese Leaf” (aka Baechu aka Napa Cabbage aka Wombok). Morrisons used to have this up here in Yorkshire.

 

HOWEVER!

 

Kimchi’ing is a process of fermentation that you can carry out on all sorts of vegetables. I’ve kimchi’d carrots, wild horseradish leaves, everyday cabbage, everyday lettuce, spuds, radish, mooli… so, during this lock-down go with you’ve got.

 

For the Seasoning — all about flavour.

 

OK, so this is for Covid-times, so go with what you’ve got. I’m not giving amounts because this will depend on the amount of veg you’re using. 

 

Bear in mind that you want this seasoning to be sticky, so not too wet. And it needs to be able to cover as much of the veg surface as possible.

 

  • Salt – ideally not table salt, because this comes with anticoagulants that can retard the fermentation process.
  • Gochugaru (Korean red chilli flakes) but, use whatever kind of fry chilli you might have in the house. If you don’t have any dry, go with fresh. If you don’t have any form of chilli what is wrong with you? Seriously though, relax.
  • Fish sauce (if you don’t have any, again relax, but for goodness sake, have a look at yourself in future unless you’re vegetarian, in which case, that’s understandable)
  • A couple of raw prawns (or 10 of those small ones that are no good for anything else). Chop the crap out of them. This is an optional step though. So maybe not for your first go.
  • Light Soy sauce (if you don’t have any soy sauce, I’m not even talking to you)
  • Rice powder (this is used to increase the stickiness, to make the seasoning adhere to the veg). If you don’t have any, that’s fine. I’ve used plain flour, gram flour, cornmeal in the past and they all do the job. Self-raising not so much.
  • Minced/grated/finely chopped garlic. Or garlic powder… just some form of garlic.
  • Minced/grated/finely chopped ginger. Or powder etc and so on.

 

Method

 

AKA The fun part. 

 

Whatever veg you use the principle is the same. 

 

Start by making cuts in the veg so that it can be exposed to the fermenting process and to the lovely flavours of your seasoning.

 

(For example, with the Chinese leaf, put your nicely honed knife in 10cm about the base and then slice up, do this four times. Or, with carrots, cut them into cubes, same with peeled, parboiled spuds)

 

Now, put the veg into the tub and:

  • Wash the bejayzus out of your veg. Do it with slightly salted water.
  • Drain the water then salt the bebuggery out of the veg. 
  • Leave overnight covered.
  • Drain the liquid that the veg will have sweated out.
  • Pat down the veg so it’s not soaking wet.
  • Coat every single surface with your sticky seasoning.
  • Coat your veg again because you probably missed a bit first time.
  • Put your kimchi in lots of smaller, sterilised (boil ‘em, leave them to cool down) jars. 
  • Label these with the date.
  • Store somewhere dark and room temp. Not to cold not too hot.
  • Try the first jar in 2 weeks time. It will be carefree and young.
  • Try the next jar in two months time. It will be mature, robust and gorgeous.
  • Try the next jar in six months, it will be old, wise and sour. Lovely. 

 

All this has worked for me. The most important things are flavour, cleanliness, flavour, relax it’s no big deal, more flavour.

 

Other people have better recipes, but this might get you started. 

 

Tim Smith

I write for money. Have done for decades. I've written about music, sport, cooking, games. I'm also a data miner who knows one end of a taxonomy from another. Feel free to get in touch.

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