I am delighted that food heros such as Jamie Oliver and Sarah Wilson are extolling the virtues of fermented foods, in particular a certain national favourite of Korea: KIMCHI.
Kimchi and other fermented vegetables are a powerhouse of goodness containing a favourable dose of good bacteria for optimum gut health, organically created through the process of fermentation. Something as good as kimchi has earned its place as a world heritage dish and has a festival dedicated to it.
Once discovered this food never leaves your taste memory.
Making kimchi for me, is more than a weekly occurrence, I make it a range of Fabulously Funky Ferments on demand and I see the growing desire to get our hands on this heritage food growing week after week. In fact I cannot keep up and it is truly my desire that you clear YOUR kitchen counter and make space in your life to make a batch of kimchi.
So, for the kimchi kraziness of it, I put the three different recipes to the test.
One being Sarah Wilson’s Indian Kimchi which you can see for yourself here . Using a blend of indian spices, this ferment offers a flavourful, warming kimchi which you most certainly will enjoy tucking in to.
The next Kimchi was Jamie Oliver’s recipe which you can find here:
This recipe is closer to my regular kimchi creation. I make a vegan version by simply omitting the shrimp paste and occasionally adding kelp powder to bridge the flavour gap. Choosing to add it for the purpose of my little taste fest, it certainly adds that extra rounded flavour. This kimchi is deep. Like a thai meal compliments all the taste sensors, this kimchi is similarly hitting all the right spots
Finally, The Cultured Club’s own Fabulously Funky Version was fermenting away in abundance in my little Holywood kitchen, and I couldn’t help tuck in.
Guess what I discovered?
Kimchi is amazing, it should now be fact. Despite the variations, kimchi is a template to be playfully worked out in the kitchen and really is the collective umbrella name for over 200 traditional variations, depending on region and local produce, so with this in mind, you could nearly create your own variation.
For someone getting past the pungent challenge presented to the olfactory pathway, the taste will deliver more than you could expect from a single mouth full. If this is an issue, in all seriousness (as I know it is for some) then start with Sarah Wilson’s recipe, as the traditional pungent smell of kimchi doesn’t over power with this recipe.
Lastly it is worth trying all suggestions as illustrated, as variety after all, is the spice of life. Having a variety of Kimchi available REALLY just makes life even than interesting. Mix and match, it would really be hard to go wrong.
There is nothing stopping you.
Just observe the salt ratio and the instructions for submerging and fermenting and give your gut a hug with some delicious probiotic goodness.
The Cultured Club’s Fabulously Funky Kimchi
1 medium head (2 pounds) napa cabbage
8 ounces Korean radish (daikon), peeled and julienned
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch piece
3 carrots, julienned
1/4 cup sea salt
1 tablespoon garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons kelp powder (optional)
1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) depending on desired heat
A splash of water for blending.
- Prepare the cabbage by washing, removing the outer leaves and chopping
- Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl and salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, leaving it for an hour to kill off any potential harmful bacteria.
- Rinse the cabbage thoroughly under cold water and drain in a colander.
- Whilst the cabbage drains make your paste by combining the garlic, ginger, and fish sauce/kelp powder in a blender and blitz to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru (1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy)
- Return to the cabbage and gently squeeze out any remaining water return it to the bowl. Then add the radish, scallions, and paste.
- Mix the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated.
- Pack the kimchi into the jar pressing down every handful until the brine rises to cover the vegetables, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Add your desired weight and seal the jar.
- Let it ferment for 5 days. The brine usually escapes, so best place it in a bowl or on a plate to catch any overflow.
After 5 days, fermentation is complete and if the taste is to your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator were the flavour just deepens and you can eat until empty!
You can easily subsitute this recipe with bok choi for a slight variation.
A Variety of Kimchi recipes and ways to eat this deliciousness will be illustrated in The Cultured Club’s book of Fabulously Funky Fermentation recipes, which will be published by Gill books in October 2016