Monday, August 02, 2010

Easy Kimchi

Kimchi is not easy to make. My first three attempts to make kimchi ended in various states of disaster. But them I found Maangchi's recipe for cut-up kimchi* (막김치). I made it before Pearl's first birthday, and my in-laws enjoyed it so much they took a jar home with them. I have since made the recipe again, and again it has turned out to be quite decent kimchi.

I don't think it's just a matter of getting better with practice, either. Maangchi provides what is severely lacking in Korean cooking: actual recipes (you know, with measurements - wow, concept! ;-), with easy-to-understand directions, and a video to go along with it. I watched the video through about three times, then followed the directions while making the recipe, referring back to the video when I had further questions.

Here are a few notes on how I made the kimchi:

Both times I've only bought one large head of cabbage from the store. I weighed it on our bathroom scale (3.5 lbs the first time, 5 lbs the second) and scaled the recipe accordingly.

For the hot pepper, I stuck with the mildest amount. There were two reasons for this: first, we want to introduce kimchi to Pearl (we think she'll like it) and, second, because the hot pepper we have is extraordinarily hot. JunkMale's mom brought it back from Korea and labeled it "Very Hot Pepper". JunkMale still thinks the kimchi came out very spicy.

And finally, I store the kimchi in pint-sized canning jars. You should always store kimchi in glass, unless you want your plastic to take on a very pungent odor. By storing them in smaller containers, our family is able to stretch out the life of the kimchi much longer than in the very large containers it's usually kept in. To keep the kimchi odor from permeating your fridge, put plastic wrap on top of the glass jar before you put the lid on. And keep some baking soda right next to it. ;-)

You, too, can make kimchi (or any other Korean food), thanks to Maangchi. This week I'm going to be using her recipe for soy sauce beef (장조림, a recipe I've had serious trouble with in the past) and chicken porridge (닭죽). And we'll be eating my homemade kimchi along with it.

*Before anyone asks, I left out the raw squid. Ewwww!

Related Posts:

1 have poured out their souls in electronic text: