Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homemade kimchi

10 lbs of baechu -- no kimchi shortage here! I paid less than $1 per pound for these.

This weekend I believe I earned my true Korean stripes, or badge or whatever.

After weeks of studying Maangchi's mak kimchi recipe, I decided to take the plunge, channel my inner ajumma and make some kimchi.

The entire process probably took me about 2.5 hours of active work.

It might have been quicker with a second set of hands, but my understanding of kimchi is that the most time consuming part is stuffing the paste between individual leaves of the cabbage -- which this recipe avoids by starting with chopped cabbage.

I took some photos along the way. Mostly I stuck to Maangchi's recipe and instructions.

A few kimchi making tips I picked up making this recipe:
* Invest in at least one big plastic kimchi bowl. I paid $5 for mine at the Korean market, but I have also seen them at the larger Asian market in my neighborhood. I would have liked a second bowl this size to make the kimchi paste
* Get a big airtight kimchi box. I bought mine when we still lived in DC and wish I had a second one. Mine wasn't quite big enough to house all of my kimchi.
* Your life will be much easier if you use a food processor with the shredding disc on the radish and carrots.
* Wear plastic gloves when mixing the kimchi -- but keep one hand clean, to handle the kimchi box and tools.
* My kimchi was also a little heavy on garlic and ginger. I would use a little less next time around
* I also skipped Maangchi's suggested squid and/or clams. A friend told me his parents use tiny dried shrimp, and I meant to toss in a handful. Next time, for sure...

**Sidebar: I'm not usually one to bash on other food blogs, but this morning I came across a post being promoted as "spicy holiday gifts" and it included a recipe for homemade kimchi that called for applesauce and sriracha sauce but no seafood agent (raw seafood, fish sauce, etc) and no gochugaru. Please, people, if you run into this recipe, run the other way. Stick with an authentic process, like Maangchi's. It's the right thing to do!

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