M A I N S
CLASSIC CABBAGE KIMCHI MAKES ABOUT 1 LITRE’S WORTH
Kimchi is essentially Korea’s national dish, and is served with every meal. It’s fermented spicy cabbage, traditionally made by families during late autumn to last them throughout the year, and then stored in pots underground. It’s easily found in Asian stores although it’s not usually vegetarian, as kimchi is mostly made with a small amount of fish sauce and/or shrimp paste. This version, however, is delicious without. INGREDIENTS 1 large napa cabbage (Chinese leaf) 3 tbsp fine sea salt 1 large onion 4 spring onions 4 tbsp gochugaru chilli flakes For the paste mix: ½ onion, roughly chopped 3 garlic cloves, chopped 5cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped 1 tsp sugar
Similar to sauerkraut is kimchi; a spicy Korean side dish of fermented vegetables. A classic kimchi will include Chinese leaf cabbage, onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. But there is plenty of room for variation, explains Demuth’s tutor Lydia Downey, who joins us on the course to share her corker of a recipe. “I mainly make traditional kimchi, but also love to use more local veg, such as red cabbage with carrot,” she says. “This results in a quite different style of kimchi, similar to sauerkraut, and is really good to eat as a condiment and mixed into salads. However, it can be made with any vegetables that are good eaten raw in salads; cucumber, radish (particularly white mooli or daikon), spring onion, and carrot are all good. “To make kimchi taste authentic, you really do need to get hold of some gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes); it’s easy to get in most Chinese and Thai supermarkets these days. I buy it locally in Bath, and also know it’s available in the Chinese shops in Bristol. It has the most beautiful deep rich red colour and flavour that isn’t as fiery hot as you’d imagine.” It’s gochugaru that gives the kimchi its fab red colour, in fact. It also has a gentler heat, meaning you just won’t get the same result with regular chilli. Kimchi doesn’t have to be just a simple side, either; it can be used to cook with, and form the base of all kinds of dishes. “My favourite recipes to use kimchi in are the ones I teach on my classes at Demuth’s,” Lydia says. “Mungbean pancakes are a winner with everyone I’ve taught them to – delicious and nutritious and so simple. Also, you can use kimchi as the starting point of a dish in place of the usual onion, garlic, ginger combo. I gently fry off a couple of tablespoons of chopped kimchi, before adding other veg for stir fries or stews. It gives a fabulous depth of flavour, with that slightly sharp fermented tang which really freshens up a dish. It also makes the most amazing fried rice and, bizarrely, the best cheese toastie in the world! Hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it…” To find out about Demuth’s courses, including this fermentation one, visit demuths.co.uk
METHOD 1 Clean and sterilise your jar or jars. 2 Chop the cabbage into 3cm squares, discarding the stem and core. Place into a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, and massage in the salt, ensuring it is evenly distributed throughout. Set aside for 1 hour. Meanwhile, blend the paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 3 When the cabbage is ready, tip it into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Drain well and allow to dry a little. It will feel quite limp and soft. 4 Place it back into the mixing bowl, and add the chopped onion, spring onions and gochugaru. Add the paste mix and, using clean hands, mix and massage it into the vegetables in order to combine everything thoroughly. 5 Pack the vegetable mix into the jar, pushing down well to compact it all and get rid of any air pockets. Leave several centimetres from the top of the jar empty to allow for expansion during the fermentation process. 6 Gently push a ramekin (or similar weight) down on top of the kimchi mixture until the liquid rises above the cabbage. Keep this weighted down until the kimchi has had its full fermentation time of 3-5 days. Close the lid on the jar but don’t fully seal it (the air will need to escape as it ferments), and place in a cool area of your kitchen out of direct sunlight. It’s a good idea to place the jar on a plate, in case of spillages that can occur when the liquid ferments and bubbles over the top of the jar. As the kimchi ferments, it can smell quite strong and ‘cabbagey’, so do warn your family or housemates, Follow Lucie and perhaps avoid making it if you have guests staying! (@fabfermented), 7 Check the jar daily for 3 days, pushing and Lydia the mix down to release any air pockets (@LydiaDowney) and allow the accumulated liquid to on Twitter come to the surface. It’s important that the vegetables are submerged beneath the liquid. Seal the lid to cover each day, then refrigerate after 3-5 days, at which point the kimchi should smell strong, sour and pickled – but not unpleasant. Taste the kimchi to decide if it needs more fermenting, then place in the fridge to store. 8 You can use the kimchi straight away, but may find the flavour needs a couple of weeks to develop enough to your liking. Once fully fermented, the kimchi will keep for up to six months (possibly longer) in the fridge, but do check it from time to time as it can go mouldy if there are any air pockets or the liquid evaporates away.
Published on Sep 29, 2017