Kimchi: first attempt

Korean food is growing in popularity around the world and you can’t talk about Korean food without mentioning Kimchi.

Kimchi is a traditional dish of fermented vegetables which comes in many different varieties. It often includes cabbage, spring onions  and various spices. The mixture is stored in jars to ferment.

I’ve never tried kimchi so this was a bit of a blind experiment. I found an easy kimchi recipe in an issue of BBC Good Food magazine and thought I’d give it a try with some slight alterations depending on ingredients I found. You’ll need a sterilised jar for storing the kimchi until ready – the process for this recipe takes around five days minimum. For this recipe I’ve used gochugaru paste (Korean red pepper) rather than powder,which I found at Waitrose. I couldn’t find any daikon (winter radish) which also featured in the original recipe so I’ve excluded this but you may wish to use.

Serves 2 if served with rice or noodles

  • 1 roughly chopped Pak Choi
  • Table salt
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru
  • 4 tsp chopped ginger
  • 6  garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Bunch of spring onions, sliced

Put the chopped cabbage in a metal bowl and cover with cold water. The leaves must be completely submerged so you may need to put a weight on top. Add two tablespoons of salt and leave for two hours.

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Make the sauce by combining the gochugaru, ginger and garlic. If using powder you may need to add water to form a paste.

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Drain the cabbage and mix with the spring onions. Coat with the paste.

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Pack tightly into a sterilised jar and store in a cool, dark place for five days at least.

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Five days later…

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I mixed my kimchi with noodles. My assumption was that fermented cabbage would smell pretty bad but this was OK. The taste, however, was not so subtle. A very strong vinegary flavour that was quite overpowering and sour. A small amount with noodles is nice but I’m not sure I could eat too much of it. My partner didn’t like it at all. I’m not sure how close to actual kimchi but I’m not sure I would try this particular recipe again.

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Any alternative recipes or any tips on how this could be done differently, please comment below.

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