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Old May 25, 2013, 5:29 am   #1
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KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Anyone else out there a huge fan of degraded fermented cabbage flavored with dried chili and semi-rotten seafood, replete with the lingering aroma of old garlic and repressed gut gas? - Yeah, thought so. I love kimchi too,
... but man, do I have to work on my descriptions.


I've craved Kimchi since I left Korea in 1971. Seen some jars in a store a few months ago and bought a pint for about $7.00. Expensive! But I didn't care. I so looked forward to getting home and eating it. ICK!
Processed and so salty without much flavor. That pint lasted me 3 months. So bummed out.

I learned of a tiny Korean resturant, newly opened, within 20+ mile driving distance, where "real deal korean's" run it and cook.
You big city dwellers don't have this problem, I know, and I'm jealous of that. LOL Went to try it out. Whoo Hoo! Kimchi tasted wonderful! Didn't have that off putting smell, (to some, but not me), and wasn't hot enough for me either, but darn good anyway! Flavor meld was awesome!

I think that smell and taste I'm missing, may be salted shrimp, or anchovies in recipe.
I imagine they "Americanized" it a bit for better sales in a college town.

In Korea, they don't worry about smell, because everyone smells like Kimchi. It comes out your pores and breath big time for 3 days afterward, when it's made their way. I never had a friend in the army in Korea until after a least a month of them being there, and they got used to the Kimchi smell from people.

So far all of the other food I have ate at that tiny resturant, been very good too. I'm working my way through their small menu. BUT... Kimchi to go, is expensive! You can eat all you want, by asking for more, during a dinner.
A quart to go is $10.60 including tax. Whew! That only last me a few days to maybe a week or so.

So I've been researching on how to make it myself. It's a simple process. But the recipes number into the hundreds or maybe thousands. Going to give it a try anyway, in next few days!

I share my Kimchi with a disabled veteren friend of ours, now in nursing home, so I need more kimchi than I can afford to buy at the resturant. I also cook & bring some of his favorite foods that he doesn't get at the home. He sure likes that! His name is Ricardo Negron (Ricky to us us) Please say a prayer for him, if you will, he has Huntington's disease, plus some Agent Orange problems left over from 'Nam.

What convinced to to go ahead and try my hand at making my own kimchi, was Debbie coming home with a big bag of ramps. My first thought was wow, would these ever be good in kimchi!

You can also just make fermented ramps by themselves. Just Google it. These two links will get you started for ramps.
http://hungrytigress.com/2011/05/ramp-greens-kimchi/
http://honest-food.net/2013/04/11/ki...pe-wild-onion/

Nothing against pickling. I like them just fine. It's just that fermented foods are better for you, (Google "Probiotics").

And I think I can attest to that fact.
I have some GI problems that almost disappear when eating Kimchi every day. I skip for a week or so and problem is back. Get some kimchi and after 2-4 days of eating it, problem clears up again. And no, I'd rather not say what the problem is. But it works for me.

Could be just coincidence, but I also remember when I was making my own cultured butter and creme fraiche last year, I enjoyed the liquid from it. Not sure if you call it buttermilk or whey, it was thin, so I think it is whey. But I loved the stuff!
And I noticed that my gut acted better when I drank a little bit of that each day too. So there must be something true about Probiotics being good for you.

And a last note:
Do any of you have any tips, or recipes, for fermenting foods, you could share with me? Only want "tried and true" recipes that you use. I can Google for myself, but I rather trust you people here more than than google. Ya know?
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Old May 25, 2013, 4:57 pm   #2
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Hi Frank,
No I don't have recipes but am also interested in this food. I haven't tried it yet, but you have inspired me to go to a health food store to find some because I too have intestinal problems, just newly diagnosed. I have read it really can help. And, you agree. Thanks for sharing.
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Old May 26, 2013, 10:21 am   #3
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Frank my dear friend, see if you can find anything by Klaus Kaufman or Annelies Schoneck, they are probably the most well known pro's for pickled vegetables and lactic acid cures for better health,mike
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Old May 27, 2013, 4:18 am   #4
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Thank miker for the tip.

I've just ordered "Making Sauerkraut & Pickled Vegetables at Home": Creative Recipes for Lactic-Fermented Food to Improve Your Health by Klaus Kaufmann, Annelies Schoneck.

Judging from the title, it should cover my needs just fine.
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Old May 28, 2013, 4:20 am   #5
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

miker,
Do you know of Sandor Ellix Katz. And if so, is it worth buying his books or dvd's?
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Old May 28, 2013, 4:23 am   #6
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Jane, the main reason I want to make my own kimchi is not only cost saving, but just because I love the stuff! The health benefits are just a happy side effect. LOL
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Old May 31, 2013, 5:34 am   #7
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

I just made my first batch of Kimchi yesterday afternoon!

Bought Korean hot pepper powder/flakes, fish sauce and the like at a Far East store I found in Saginaw. Lady was very helpful in telling me how to make kimchi, but when I asked her what "such & such" she preferred, she said "Oh, I no make Kimchi myself. I eat friends Kimchi"! LOL She did know what she was talking about tho'. I'll give her that. I think she just meant that she doesn't make it anymore herself.

Tasted the paste as I went, and adjusted spices, and tasted the kimchi after a few hours of being in jars. Flavor is great. Still not hot enough for me, so think I will add some diced hot peppers to next batch. Now just waiting on the fermenting of it.

I did over salt the cabbage this time, but what the hey? It's a learning experience!

I was very leery of trying this myself, but it is easier than I thought.
Now all I have to do is adjust recipe, and timing, to fit my taste.

I left out any seafood (like shrimp, oysters, or anchovies) on this batch. Deb isn't too keen on the kimchi thing yet. Said I couldn't get a small fridge just for kimchi and fermented food. After she smells the kimchi with the right amount of garlic and seafood in it, fermenting on counter or in fridge, she may change her mind. Or maybe I'll be living on the porch in a sleeping bag with the kimchi! LOL

I'll keep you posted on how this experimental batch turned out, and on my next attempts. I did forget to add some things to this batch that I was going to add. First timer's excitement overruled memory. LOL
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Old May 31, 2013, 9:30 pm   #8
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Frank my brethern, share this recipe please, being of German descent myself, we like fermented stinky foods also, so if you would please post the recipe,mike
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Old Jun 2, 2013, 3:30 am   #9
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Ingredient List: Makes slightly less than two quarts.

Ratios:
4 pounds Napa cabbage (I used napa and boc choy)
4 tablespoons Sea or Kosher salt (I winged it and used too much)
1 cup, or more, of The Basic Sauce
With these ratio's you can use almost any vegetable mix and it will turn out okay.


STEP 1
Split cabbage lengthwise into half, or quarters for large cabbage. Cut crosswise into 1 inch wide pieces.
Wash cabbage a couple of times to remove any dirt.
Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of kosher salt, tossing to mix to evenly coat cabbage with salt. Cover the bowl with towel and let it stand at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. Every 30-45 minutes give cabbage a mix, to evenly brine the cabbage.


STEP 2
The Basic Sauce:

1 Red Bell Pepper, rough chopped (use hot peppers for more heat)
1/2 Apple, peeled & chopped
2 inch Ginger, peeled & sliced
1/3 to 3/4cup. Garlic, about 2 or 3 heads
1/2 cup. Onion or Wild Leeks, rough chopped
4 Tbsp. (1/4 c.) Salted Shrimp Sauce, or anchovy
(they call it shrimp sauce, but really just baby shrimp salted in jar in refrigerated section)
1/2 cup. Water, filtered & Non-Chlorine

In food processor pulse to paste.
Freeze any leftover sauce for future use.


Step 3
Add to basic sauce prior to mixing with cabbage.

1 cup Coarse, or med coarse, Korean Red Pepper powder
3/4 cups fish sauce without MSG (I used about 1/2 cup fish sauce)
2-3 tsp Raw Sugar
1/2 cup. Water, filtered & Non-Chlorine
5-7 stalks, Green onions chopped in 1 1/4 lengths, about 1 cup
3 Tbsp Julienned Carrots, match stick size.
1/4 cup Julienned Korean or daikon radish.
Mix well to combine the ingredients. (taste and add more pepper or salt, if needed)
Let it stand and meld some while waiting on cabbage to wilt.

Step 4
Rinse the cabbage in sink or pot of water. Squeeze by hand, to help drain as much of the liquid as possible and drain in a colander. Repeat rinsing 3-4 times using fresh water each time. Transfer to a large bowl. Put plastic gloves on, if sensitive skin. Add cup or so of sauce and combine everything very well, rubbing it in to veggies. Transfer the cabbage to container and pack pieces very tightly so all is submerged under the juice. Tightly seal and let it sit at room temperature out of direct light, for 1-3 days, for the fermentation process to take place then refrigerate. Keep veggies submerged in sauce. Taste once each day of fermenting. When it suits your taste, transfer to fridge.

I used wide mouth canning jars. Packed tightly leaving about 2 1/2" head space allowing for the swelling. I put some salted water, in case it leaked, in a zip bag and put inside jar to keep cabbage submerged, then sealed it with lid. I left it ferment for about 24 hours, and put in fridge. But it wasn't fermented enough for me, so I set the jars back out at room temp again for another 12 hours and that was just right for my taste.

I suggest searching the internet for Kimchi recipes, methods and read. Also watch a lot of You Tube vids.
Google will be your new best friend! I can hardly find a google search page on kimchi that I haven't already visited by now. LOL
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Last edited by Frank; Jun 12, 2013 at 5:50 am. Reason: Added shrimp ingredient
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Old Jun 2, 2013, 4:05 am   #10
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Re: KIMCHI and fermented veggies

Well, I had to set my jars out a few more hours to get the flavor I wanted, but I have to say. I'm very surprised I actually made Kimchi and that it taste pretty darned good too! I've been snacking on it tonight. A bite here and now. It helps keep the snack cravings away.

I elected to split my cabbage in half and then salt. Placing salt between each leaf (more at the root end). I placed a plate on it and weighed it down with two 2lb bags of beans, and left it in bucket for 12+ hours. Then rinsed well 4 times and cut into smaller pieces. It worked, but I think it will be easy taking the shortcut of cutting them up and then salting for 4 hours. The main reason for leaving heads halved or quartered is for long storage and ferment like they do in Korea when they put it in pots buried in ground all winter. And the other reason is presentation of of cutting a quarter, slicing right on a plate.

I only used about 1 1/4 inch of Ginger. I should have used more.
I only used 1 1/2 sm Garlic bulbs, as it was all I had on hand.
By mistake, I blended the green onions, with sauce instead, of adding to the sauce later.
Kimchi is very forgiving it seems.

I added some halved wild leek bulbs to the jars, as well as using some in the paste. I think I will only use them in paste from now on. They seem to too tough on their own in the jar. Not crunchy like the cabbage is. Great flavor though!

I couldn't use the leaves of the wild leeks as they were already too big and stringy. Too bad.

I want to try some horseradish and hot peppers diced up in the mix next time.

There are many Kimchi recipes and ingredients you can use. Also differing methods. Sweet rice flour porridge and the like.
I made this 1st batch without the sweet rice flour and It looks and taste like the real deal to me.
I don't know why so many recipes call for the rice porridge in the mix.

The Korean lady at the market went ballistic on me for buying sweet rice flour to make porridge for kimchi. LOL
"No, No. NO! Never make porridge for kimchi! I never hear such thing! That crazy! No! You no make porridge!"

When I go back for more spices, I'll have to let her know that indeed, I followed her advice and it turned out great. LOL
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