Making Kimchi

FBRS Kimchi Kiss
The famous “kimchi kiss” in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

You can’t watch Kdramas and not know about kimchi.  It took me a while to develop a taste for it, but I’m proof that it can happen.  Unfortunately, kimchi can’t be found in the little town were I live.  The closest Asian market is an hour and a half away.  Thankfully, my daughter attends college there so I often send her to the market before she comes home for the weekend.

For a long time a pint jar of kimchi would last months.  But once I began cooking kimchi fried rice (and now kimchi jjigae), we would go through a quart in a couple of weeks.  That gets expensive.

I have been wanting to try making my own kimchi for a while, but I kept putting it off.  However, yesterday was the day I finally got down to business.  First I made radish kimchi using this recipe.

I had to use a daikon radish because the closest place to buy Korean radish is three hours away.  I ordered seeds last summer and tried planting some in my cousin’s garden, but we had heavy rain immediately after and nothing made.  I’m going to try again this year, in containers.  We’ll see how it goes.

The recipe called for 5 cups of diced radish, but when I cut up the daikon I only had 3 cups.  I’d already made the pul and mixed it with the spices, so I just went ahead and mixed what I had.  According to the recipe, it needs to sit out for 2 days, then go in the fridge for 5 days before eating.

Radish Kimchi
Radish Kimchi

Next I made a batch of kimchi using a powder mix my daughter found at the Asian market.

Kimchi Mix
Cabbage in salt water and instant kimchi mix

After brining one head of cabbage, I followed the package instructions.  This is how it turned out:

Kimchi from Mix
Kimchi from mix

It doesn’t have the rich red color that I’m used to, but other than that it looks and smells right.  The package said to refrigerate for 2 days before eating.

Next was my attempt to make kimchi from scratch.  I used this recipe.

Brining Cabbage
Two heads of cabbage in brine

After brining the cabbage for 8 hours, I made the pul and mixed in the spices.  I washed and drained the cabbage, but the colander was so full I took half of the cabbage out and set it aside.  I began squeezing water out and putting handfuls in a bowl.  I was on the last handful when I noticed my knuckle was bleeding.  I had scraped it on the colander while working the cabbage.

Crap, crap, and double crap.

I had to throw away all the cabbage I’d worked on.  I was just so thankful I’d set half of it aside.

So I ended up with only half the amount of kimchi I’d planned on.

Kimchi from Scratch
Kimchi from scratch

It looks good, but only time will tell if it tastes good.  I’ll do an update post in about a week and let you know how everything tastes.


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