Kim Chi ~ Tell me how cute a name is that? Bimbim Bap ~ Tell me how cute a name is that? Soondooboo Jiigae? Kimchi Bokeum Bap? Have I made my point? And aren't those Korean actors and actresses just as cute too? I know my nieces definitely think they are.
And as cute as the name may very well be....kimchi is not a photogenic food, like rendang. It took me all 2 days of sweat, sweat and sweat to come up with some decent photographs. After all it was simply cabbage on a plate and the other just a brown mash of meat.But like the Malaysian rendang there is nothing plain about the Korean kimchi. The spiciness from the chillie and the flavours from the garlic, grated ginger and a sweet edge from the fruit puree that I had used made it a fantastic appetizer. Plus I've had this craving for some kimchi-jeon (kimchi pancakes) ever since I saw photographs of my nieces enjoying a Korean meal in Korea with the said pancake in full view of my computer screen.
I was told by a lady herbalist that cayenne pepper was the closest that I could get to Korean chiilie flakes or chillie paste. I chose to believe her because I wasn't about to scavenge all over town in the present scorching weather in search of something that I may never find.
I had also searched blogs for the recipe. Simple they all say and indeed it was. Finally I used a combination of recipes from Closet Cooking and Dr. Ben Kim's site. Two very interesting and informative sites.
I'm not sure if it will past the test with a Korean but it was certainly good enough for me and my craving.
Tomorrow it will be kimchi-jeon for me lunch! YUMMM
The recipe ~
1 napa cabbage
1/2 cup salt
1 cup gochugaru (Korean chillie flakes) I used 1/2 cup cayenne pepper instead
3-4 stalks spring onions
4 cloves garlic
1 in grated ginger
2 T fish sauce
puree from 1/2 apple, and 1/2 pear as per Dr. Ben Kim's recipe
Seperate the cabbage leaves and trim away the hard core. Then slice the cabbage leaves to one inch lengths.
Place one layer of the cut cabbage in a stainles steel bowl and sprinkle some salt over it. The proceed likewise with the rest of the cabbage , sprinkling salt over each layer. Cover with a plate and leave for about 4 hours until the cabbage has softened.
The salt acts as a preservative for the pickle. Rinse away the salt from the cabbage and drain and put the cabbage in a bowl.
Chop the spring onions into 1 inch lengths, grate the ginger, mince the garlic, place in bowl and to all of these add the fish sauce. Mix. Add the pureed fruits and mix again. Add this mixture to the to the cabbage and sprinkle on the gochugaru. Mix well. Bottle the kimchi and leave to stand for 3 days at room temperature and then keep in the refrigerator. Will keep for a month.
I only let it stand for 24 hours at room temperature because it is so humid and hot here.
PS ~ Some of you may find 1/2 cup of cayenne a little too much....I find it a little too spicy myself ....so perhaps 1/4 would be moderately spicy.
Do take note ~ An anonymous reader has pointed out in the comment list that...."kimchi is FERMENTED like yoghurt and miso. It is not just 'pickled'". My sincere apologies for overlooking the difference. I must be more careful.