Homemade Kimchi

I’ve been feeling my age lately. And I think it’s because I’ve been reminiscing about things that happened 4 or 5 years ago…and feeling like a full-fledged adult in those memories. Somehow, my brain can’t figure out if those memories occurred last month or a million years ago. It’s disorienting, to say the least, and it makes me feel like I’m perhaps even older than I am.

Facebook’s memories have been running me through the ringer these last couple of months, bombarding me with [lovely] pictures of [fond] memories from my time in South Korea. I lived there for one time-warp of a year that takes up the same space in my mental timeline as two normal years at home.

I am constantly amazed at how long I’ve been back…and it really hit me a couple weeks ago that I had only eaten kimchi a couple times in over two years. Kimchi now being one of my favorite foods, especially fried in pork belly fat or in kimchi stew, this really shocked me! I couldn’t keep going this way and suddenly I knew I had to have kimchi ASAP. Good kimchi. Homemade kimchi. And I had to make it myself.

So, the next weekend I trekked out to the massive Asian store (the far one with really good produce, not one of the five close ones with slim selection and unreliable produce). I nibbled (devoured) a bbq pork belly steamed bun and sipped (slurped) a milk green tea with boba while browsing in the behemoth of a grocery store/restaurant/cafe and finally made my way to the produce. I was a bit preoccupied with my bubble tea and hadn’t adequately prepared a recipe before I went shopping, so I ended up at home the next day with a hodgepodge of ingredients, no scale, and three kimchi recipes.

I ended up kind of winging it, but I have zero regrets – other than the fact that I didn’t really measure anything. I guess it just goes to show that the specific measurements don’t really matter, as long as you have the right ingredients!

Although it could have used a slightly higher cabbage:spice ratio, my kimchi did successfully ferment and it tastes delicious! I didn’t use distilled water to soak the cabbage even though tap water can inhibit fermentation, but I guess my tap water was fine. I was careful to use sea salt, however – just make sure not to use iodized salt, as iodine can inhibit fermentation as well.

If you’re interested in the three recipes I used, they are below. I used fresh ginger and fresh garlic, but I left out the salted shrimp and anchovy extract so that my vegetarian sister could partake. She didn’t.

Main recipe: Salted & Styled

Secondary recipes/advice: The KitchnChowhound



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