Faithful readers of this blog (yes, all two of you) may recall that some months ago I experimented in the kitchen with my favorite Korean dish, jap chae. It was tasty, but conspicuously missing was the must-have accompaniment: kimchi. Since then I have been doing some recipe reconnaissance: reviewing cookbooks, checking blogs (like these three), wandering Koreatown markets, and consulting sources both historical and personal (my friend Tanne was kind enough to pass on his mom's recipe).
Finally, last week, I felt ready to undertake the project. I assembled the necessary ingredients: salt, cabbage, scallions, garlic, ginger, anchovy sauce, salted shrimp, and Korean chili powder, and went to it. This was last Thursday. After mixing, I left the whole concoction out for 40 hours. (I have to note here that my brother and husband were very tolerant of my project. Kimchi is pungent, to say the least, and not everyone would want its unique aroma wafting through one's apartment for 40 hours straight.) Then it went into the fridge, where apparently the flavors continue to deepen day by day. Today is day 3 of KimchiWatch and I decided it was time to put it to the test. We had it at dinner, paired with some of the aforementioned jap chae, and it was quite a hit. I'm already planning my next batch.
If you want to try this at home:
1 head of cabbage (Napa is most commonly used); 1/4 cup coarse salt; 14 scallions, roughly chopped; 1 tbsp Korean ground red pepper; 1 1/2 tbsp anchovy sauce; 1/4 cup minced garlic; 1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger; 1/4 cup sugar; 2 tbsp salted shrimp (you probably want to mash them into a paste to avoid having their little shrimpy eyes look up at you out of your kimchi)
- Layer the cabbage leaves in a colander and sprinkle the salt between the layers. Let it sit over a bowl for 4-6 hours. Then rinse and dry.
- Mix together all other ingredients, then roughly chop the cabbage and toss it with the spice mixture, ensuring the cabbage is covered in the spices.
- Store the kimchi in a container and leave out (of the fridge) at least 24 hours. Thereafter refrigerate. The flavor will continue to grow stronger daily.