Imagine my delight when I saw beautifully formed, huge womboks for sale at our local vegetable shop. Kimchi immediately comes to mind for it's delightful flavour and fermented goodness. I cannot fully share my excitement at the prospect of making a batch of kimchi. My children (young adults) all love kimchi as well so it is a joy that can be spread through the family.
I have created a simplified version over the years, one that is full of flavour with enough moisture but with some texture and a beautiful aroma. Inspiration comes from this Traditional Kimchi recipe but I like the simple flavours of my own version, without adding any shrimp or squid to the mixture. I find the process of making kimchi enjoyable and relaxing.
1 wombok cabbage, approx 2kg
3/4 cup natural fine sea salt
1 bunch radishes (about 8)
2 carrots, peeled
10 spring onions (green shallots)
12 cloves garlic
1.5cm piece of ginger
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 1/4 cups gochujang chilli paste (Korean red chilli paste)
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
Porridge: 1 cup water
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 tablespoon raw sugar
Firstly slice the cabbage lengthwise into 4 quarters. Remove and discard the hard core.
Then slice each quarter in half again before slicing into roughly 2.5cm pieces. Place in a colander and rinse well with water.
Then place into a large bowl, sprinkling each layer with a little of the 3/4 cup salt. Scrunch it all with your fingers and leave to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours, 4 hours is better. While it is resting, occasionally give it a stir to distribute the salt evenly.
After it has rested pour it all back into the colander and rinse well with fresh water to remove the salt.
For the porridge mix 1 cup water with 1 tablespoon rice flour (glutinous ground rice) in a small saucepan and stir whilst bringing to a simmer for 5 minutes. It will thicken during this time. Then mix in 1 tablespoon raw sugar until dissolved. Take off heat and place into a large bowl. Let cool.
Blend the garlic, ginger and onion until finely minced, in a blender or mortar and pestle. Add to the cooled porridge with the fish sauce, gochujang and dried chilli flakes. Add the cabbage and mix well.
Chop the carrots, radishes and spring onions roughly (I do this in blender for about 20 seconds) and also add to the cabbage mixture. Mix it all together and pour into fermenting vessels or in jars with the lid slightly ajar and allow to ferment for up to one week at room temperature before moving into the refrigerator.
Do you also enjoy the process of making dishes like kimchi or sauerkraut?
Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn xx