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For my friends who do not understand written Korean 🙂
Kimchi has abundant vitamins and probiotics because it is made of vegetables and fermented. The name of Kimchi explains its own mechanism – 沈菜 – salted/pickled veggies. You can make kimchi with ANY kinds of veggies. Just dehydrate the veggie with salt, and then toss with the kimchi seasoning. So, here I would like to introduce how to make the seasoning, and some tips for salting.
I washed, cut, and sprinkled salt on each kind.
There is no specific way of cut. Just cut them in good size for your bite. The cucumber above was cut in a special way (cylinder and cross) – the traditional cucumber kimchi way. It looks cool but a little bit inconvenient to eat for me. Some people prefer not to cut (especially leaf veggies such as Napa cabbage or mustard green) because it makes the kimchi look luxurious and the veggie can hold its juice more.
While salting the veggies, now it is time to make the seasoning. Kimchi seasoning reflects your territory (its weather and major products) and/or family traditions. I mean, it can be vary and any way would be fine as long as it is good for you. You can add lots of fish sauce, or little, more or less or even no pepper powder, starch made of different grains… Here what I made is a kind of average typical one. Feel free to add, reduce, or omit the ingredients along with your taste.
The starch porridge is usually recommended for winter kimchi. It has two benefits: good for better fermentation, and stickiness. Starch porridge becomes good food for the microbes that facilitate fermentation. Summer kimchi is more like a salad and you may not expect the in-depth savory while winter kimchi must be well fermented. I always use starch porridge regardless the season because it makes the seasoning sticky and well tossed with the veggies.
I used flour for the porridge, but Korean people like sweet rice flour or potato starch better. To my humble palate, they were not much different – indeed, I can’t tell the difference 🙂
Mix the grated garlic and ginger, starch porridge, pepper powder (2 cups – I love spicy seasoning), fish sauce (1 cup), and a little bit of salted shrimp and sugar (1 TBSP each). Again, this is “my” seasoning recipe. You may want to use less pepper powder or less garlic, more ginger, more sugar, no starch, etc. If you are the first time kimchi cook, try my recipe once and then adjust for your own way.
Different veggies require different salting time. Just observe and stop salting when the veggie becomes saggy. For mustard green, cucumber, and jalapeño, it took several hours. Radish and Napa cabbage take longer time (4-6 hours in summer, 8-10 hours in winter). If the veggie is too salty, rinse and soak the veggie in fresh water for a couple hours. Be careful not to crush the veggie while rinse, drain, and toss with the seasoning. If it is not salty, well, it won’t be the case because the veggie won’t get saggy without enough salt 🙂 Since the seasoning also include sodium (from the fish sauce), I would like to recommend rinse enough the salted veggie.
Last job is tossing the veggies with seasoning.
I hope you to make and enjoy the healthy famous Korean food, kimchi 🙂
July, 22, 2022