Making Kimchi At Home-A Guide For Honkies
NOTE: This is what is called the lactic acid fermentation process. There's plenty to read about it on line and this is a good introduction to the process. Only tackle this if you have some level of confidence in your culinary abilities because if you don't get it right you could get sick from it.
On the other hand, it is said to produce lots of healthy probiotic stuff to keep your innards happy. I'm not sure how much of this I believe but there is something to it. Plus it tastes good if you like spicy stuff.
I went and got the necessaries this morning and reviewed one on line recipe that's pretty comprehensive (you can see it here) and set to work. I obtained a big bag of red pepper flakes from Wang's Asian Grocery in Clive for six bucks and it is just the ticket. Down at the local Hy-Vee I got, in no particular order, the following.
a medium size head of Napa cabbage
a medium sized head of bok choy (because I like it)
a Daikon radish
a hunk of ginger root
a bunch of scallions
a Granny Smith apple
half a yellow onion
a red bell pepper.
Here at home I had plenty of garlic and kosher salt, plus bottles of spring water.
You clean and slice your cabbage into bite sized chunks, wash it, combine it with a half cup kosher salt-worked in real well, some spring water, and then let it sit for an hour or so, giving it a good massage every fifteen minutes or so
While you're waiting you can cut up your radish, scallions, onion and whatever else you like into matchstick size slivers.
Take and put as much garlic and ginger as you like in a food processor and when chopped well turn it out into a mixing bowl. To this add enough spring water to make a paste, plus a couple tablespoons of sugar and some soy sauce. Many recipes call for fish sauce but I don't like the stuff at all. Then, add about 8 tablespoons of chile flakes.
After an hour or so, turn out the cabbage and rinse it thoroughly under the tap to remove the salt.
Then, in a mixing bowl combine the veggies and the chili-garlic-ginger paste. You can do a taste test now and adjust it to your liking.
At this point get yourself some rubber gloves to do the mixing with unless you like red stained hands.
When thoroughly mixed, put the combined vegetables and chile into a couple of quart mason jars which you have sterilized by baking them in a 200 degree oven for ten or fifteen minutes.
Pack that stuff down, and when your jar is full-ish, take a spoon and pack it down some more and work out as much of the trapped air bubbles as you can. Then it's on with the air traps for sanitary reasons, and off to a quiet place to let it sit for two days. Put a plate underneath it.
Mine is in the garage on my workbench next to a motorcycle clutch and some carburetors.
I'll be back in a couple of days to let you know how it turns out.
When it's to your liking cap the jars and put them in the fridge.