Recipes: Basic kimchi and 3 multicultural ways to use it
Recipes for Basic Homemade Kimchi, Kimchi Frittata, Kimchi Fried Rice and Quick Cucumber and Chive Kimchi.
BASIC HOMEMADE KIMCHI
1 small head napa cabbage, about 1 pound
1 daikon radish
1 bunch scallions (or garlic chives if you can find them)
4 to 6 tablespoons pickling or kosher salt
4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
¼ cup ground red pepper flakes (either the traditional gochugaru or chilies de arbol)
1. Cut the cabbage in half crosswise to separate the leafiest tops from the bottom. Cut the base from the cabbage bottom and separate all the leaves. Rinse everything in cool water and set in a colander to drain.
2. Peel the daikon and carrots and cut into julienne pieces, about ¼-inch by ¼-inch and 2 to 3 inches long. Cut the onions into 1-inch lengths
3. In a large bowl, toss the carrots and daikon with about a tablespoon of salt, or enough to coat them well.
4. Cut the stem-ends of the cabbage leaves into 1-inch-wide slices. Toss them with 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt, or enough to coat them well, and put them on top of the carrots.
5. Toss the leafy tops and the scallions with another tablespoon or so of salt until coated and lay them on top.
6. Weigh everything down with a plate and leave it on the counter for four to six hours.
7. Stir the vegetables well, and then start packing the mixture into a very large glass jar (or multiple smaller jars). As you place the vegetables in the jar, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of ground red pepper (or less if you want it less spicy) and minced garlic and ginger over each layer.
8. Repeat this layering, and as you go, use a wooden spoon to pack down the mixture. Once it’s all in, sprinkle another tablespoon or so of salt all over the top and put the lid on tight.
9. Leave it on the counter for 24 hours, giving it a shake whenever you walk by. After 24 hours it will have shrunk considerably and there will be almost enough liquid in the jar to cover the vegetables. Use your wooden spoon again to press the vegetables down into the liquid. Store in the refrigerator, and it will keep for several months.
Notes: One of the keys to making kimchi at home is adjusting the quantities of salt, red pepper and aromatics for a number of variables, including which vegetables you use in the first place (cabbage, carrots, daikon radish and green onion are the most common), the water content in those vegetables and your own preferences for heat, garlic, ginger and fish sauce. Many kimchi makers add sugar to help feed the bacteria and balance the salt, but it can also be made sugar-free (and Paleo-friendly) sweetened with puréed banana or Asian pear. Please note that if you are using nonorganic produce, it will take longer for the kimchi to ferment because the produce was likely grown with chemicals that specifically inhibit bacteria growth.
— Adapted by the Austin American-Statesman from Hilah Johnson of Hilah Cooking (hilahcooking.com/how-to-make-kimchi).
Serves 2 to 3
This basic recipe for a brunch-friendly kimchi frittata is meant to be adapted. You could use any type of kimchi, and the more sour and fermented, the better the flavor. Feel free to top with chopped greens, crushed nuts or kimchi juice instead of the suggested toppings.
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup chopped napa kimchi, divided
6 eggs, whisked
½ teaspoon salt (or salt-brine shrimp)
Nori flakes and toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour sesame oil in a pie pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Place half the kimchi on top of the oil and pour the whisked eggs on top. Top with remaining kimchi.
2. Bake for 15 minutes, until the center of the frittata has set. Top with nori flakes and sesame seeds.
— Adapted by the Austin American-Statesman from a recipe by Abigail Lunde.
KIMCHI FRIED RICE
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1½ cups finely chopped onion
Pinch of coarse salt
2 cups sour kimchi, coarsely chopped, plus ¼ cup kimchi juice
4 cups day-old cooked rice, at room temperature
1. Heat the sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring now and then, until beginning to soften and brown, about three minutes. Add the kimchi and cook for one minute to combine nicely with the onion. Add the rice and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook until the rice is warmed through and beginning to brown, about five minutes. Serve hot.
— Adapted by the Austin American-Statesman from “The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen” (Rodale, $32.50) by Marja Vongerichten.
QUICK CUCUMBER AND CHIVE KIMCHI
Makes 5 cups
8 Kirby, 10 Persian or 2 large Japanese or English cucumbers, unpeeled
2 tablespoons kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)
2 tablespoons Korean chili-pepper flakes (gochugaru)
2 teaspoons anchovy sauce (optional)
1½ teaspoons sugar
¼ cup Korean or regular chives, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons thinly sliced onion
1. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, then cut them into 1 / 8-inch thin diagonal slices. In a medium bowl, mix the cucumbers with the salt until well combined. Set aside for five to seven minutes until cucumbers sweat and glisten. They will lose some firmness but should still have a little crunch, as you don’t want them to be too soft.
2. Place the cucumbers in a colander and rinse, then pat them dry. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers with the chili-pepper flakes, anchovy sauce and sugar and allow to combine for 10 minutes. Add the chives and onion and toss to combine. Eat immediately, or refrigerate and consume within two to three days.
— Adapted by the Austin American-Statesman from “The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi” (Ten Speed Press, $19.99) by Lauryn Chun and Olga Massov.