Kimchi 韓國泡菜

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There are a lot of Chinese Koreans living in northeastern China so the streets of my hometown are dotted with Korean restaurants. When I was small it used to be a special treat to get taken to one for a bowl of cold noodles. Koreans seem to be very good at using the simplest things to create unique and amazing flavours, and every once in a while I just have to have some.

In our supermarket I can get pricy Kimchi in small jars that I would finish in 3 servings, so as winter comes and cabbages are at their best I decided to make my own – no chemical additives and for a fraction of the cost – in some parts of China when something is very cheap they say “cabbage priced”. Every Korean family probably has their own secret ingredients and as a first timer my recipe is adapted from Kimchi and Kakdugi. Chinese cabbages and radishes are used in this recipe, they are less pungent, sweeter and juicer than their western relatives.

Cabbage and Radish Kimchi

Ingredients (makes 5kilos):

  • 6 big Chinese cabbages – quartered and cored
  • 2 big Chinese radishes (daikon) – peeled and cubed
  • Salt

Sauce:

  • 1 big Carrot – peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 big Pear – peeled and cut into matchesticks
  • 3 whole bulbs of Garlic – minced fine
  • 2tbsp Ginger – minced fine
  • 1 medium Onion – minced fine
  • 4 Shallots – minced fine
  • 1 handful of Spring Onion – cut into fine strips
  • 5cups Korean chilly flakes (it looks red hot but really isn’t that spicy)
  • 1cup Korean shrimp paste
  • 1cup Korean fish sauce (I couldn’t find any so substituted with the Thai version, it is sweeter and less pungent)

Instructions:

  1. Cabbages – sprinkle a generous amount of salt between each leaf and place core-side-up a big non metal (stainless steel is ok) food safe container, weigh down with something heavy and non-reactive like a full pot of water on top of a wooden chopping for 7hrs(without the weight it’s fine but will take longer), re-layer them (top cabbages to the bottom) half way to salt them evenly. (some people soak the cabbages in salted water but I prefer to let the natural cabbage juice do the job)
  2. Radishes – in a non-metal food safe container toss with a generous amount of salt, sit for 4hrs, toss half way to salt evenly.
  3. Rinse wilted cabbages and radishes well – they should both look slightly transparent and a lot of liquid should’ve oozed out. Squeeze cabbages dry.
  4. Sauce – Mix all ingredients and add enough water to make a very thick paste, taste and add individual ingredients to your liking.
  5. Marinate – rub sauce between each leaf of cabbage (use food safe gloves to avoid chilly burn on the skin) and then lay core side up in a non-metal food container, pack tight, close lid (doesn’t need to be too air-tight as bubbles will occur during fermentation) and store in a cool, dark place (fridge or wine fridge).
  6. Toss radishes in leftover sauce and transfer to a non-metal food container, close lid and store as above.

Notes:

  1. Through my research most recipes say Kimchi will be ready to eat in about a week, but I have read that in general pickling the unhealthy sodium nitrite will reach its peak between 1-2 weeks, then reduces and go away around 3-4 weeks. According to this short-term pickled food is not very healthy, therefore I skipped the “sticky rice paste to speed up fermentation” step from Kimchi and Kakdugi recipe and am going to wait 3-4 weeks for my Kimchi to finish.
  2. Finished kimchi can be stored in air-tight containers in the fridge for as long as the taste is still pleasing – it will only keep fermenting slowly and get more sour instead of spoiling. Traditional Korean families make enough kimchi for the year in cabbage season.
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Fresh Chinese cabbages and Chinese radishes 新鮮的大白菜和白蘿蔔

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Wilted radishes 變軟出水的白蘿蔔

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Wilted cabbages 變軟出水的大白菜

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Ginger, spring onion, garlic, onion, shallot, carrot, pear 姜,蔥,蒜,洋蔥,紅蔥頭,胡蘿蔔,梨

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Korean chilly flakes and Korean shrimp paste 韓式辣椒碎和韓式蝦醬

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Rub sauce between every leaf 每片葉子之間都要有醬料

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Finished cabbage kimchi 泡白菜完成了

中國東北朝鮮族聚居的地方有很多韓式餐館,小的時候被帶出去吃一碗朝鮮冷面是很享受的事情。韓國人好像很會把簡單的食材加工成特別的味道,每個一段時間我就忍不住要去大快朵頤一次。

在我的超市可以買到小瓶的泡菜,3次就吃完了而且還蠻貴的。天氣冷了大白菜季節到了,我決定試試看自己做一下 - 沒有添加劑又是名副其實的“白菜價”。聽說每個韓國家庭都有自己的秘密配方,而最好吃的對於每個人來說都是“媽媽/奶奶做的”。我找到了Kimchi and Kagdugi的配方而加以修改。

大白菜和白蘿蔔泡菜

食材(做5公斤):

  • 6顆 大白菜 - 切4份並去芯
  • 2個 大個的白蘿蔔 - 去皮切塊

醬料:

  • 1個 大個的胡蘿蔔 - 去皮切絲
  • 1個 大個的梨子 - 去皮切絲
  • 3個 整個的蒜頭 - 切末
  • 2湯匙 姜末
  • 1顆 洋蔥 - 切末
  • 4顆 紅蔥頭 - 切末
  • 1把 蔥 - 切絲
  • 5杯 韓式辣椒碎(顏色很紅但沒有什麼辣度)
  • 1杯 韓式蝦醬
  • 1杯 韓式魚露(找不到用了泰式代替,泰式的沒有那麼咸腥,比較甜)

做法:

  1. 大白菜 - 每片葉子之間撒鹽,多一點不要緊,芯朝上放在非金屬(不鏽鋼ok)食物容器裡,用非金屬的重物(例如菜板加上裝滿水的鍋子)壓著7個小時(不壓也可以時間會久些),中間調整一下白菜順序(上面的移到下面)幫助其均勻出水。(很多人直接用鹽水泡著,個人比較喜歡讓白菜自己的汁液發揮作用)
  2. 白蘿蔔 - 與鹽混合,在非金屬食物容器中靜置4小時。
  3. 西去白菜和蘿蔔上的鹽 - 白菜和蘿蔔應已變軟出水,呈少許半透明狀。用手擠干白菜水分。
  4. 醬料 - 混合醬料食材並加少許水攪成粘稠狀,試味,按需要增加分量。
  5. 醃製 - 帶上手套(不然會辣到手)將醬料塗在每片白菜葉子之間,芯朝上疊在非金屬食物容器裡,壓緊一下蓋上蓋子(不需要太真空的蓋子,因為發酵過程中會有汽泡產生),儲藏在陰冷地方(冰箱或恆溫紅酒櫃)。
  6. 剩下的醬料與白蘿蔔混合,放入非金屬食物容器裡蓋上蓋子,儲藏同上。

提示:

  1. 我找到的食譜都說做好的泡菜1個星期就可以吃,可是聽聞醃製過程中產生的亞硝酸鹽會在1-2個星期時達到峰值,後在3-4個星期時下降消失,所以個人決定不用Kimchi and Kagdugi食譜中“糯米粉漿加速發酵”那一步,慢慢等一個月再吃我的泡菜,
  2. 完成的泡菜可以在密封盒子裡冷藏很久,由於發酵會繼續緩慢進行而只會慢慢越來越酸而不會腐壞。傳統韓國家庭好像是會在大白菜季節一次做好一年份量的泡菜。

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