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Fiery Homemade Kimchi

Despite evidence to the contrary, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I am still cooking, grocery shopping, working, list-making, breathing. Just with no time to write about it! Ah. The living is what's most important, but I do miss the re-living that happens here.

If I were a nicer person, I'd welcome you back with some fragrant muffins or irresistible cookies. Or maybe chocolate is your thing. If you're in any of those camps, this isn't your day. It's Kimchi Day.

Kimchi is one of those divisive foods. You either love it, hate it, or haven't even gotten near enough to decide. One of the best things about moving to Seattle 16 years ago was my introduction to Korean food. And even around here, it's an under-celebrated, almost undiscovered cuisine. I'm waiting for Korean to get its big break like Vietnamese food has, or tapas or izakaya. In the meantime, I'll definitely be making more batches of this. (Though Yancey's hoping I'll wait a few weeks, since our entire house now smells like a kimchi factory.)

Fair warning--this recipe takes a day or two to make (depending on if you cheat like I did), involves massaging daikon strands, and will find you putting anchovies in the food processor with apples. Now, that's my  love language, but I'd be surprised if it's everyone's. Were I to commence with a hard sell, I'd say that kimchi is full of good-for-you live cultures (naturally present in cabbage), livens up a lunch rice bowl like nobody's business, kicks up the endorphins with its spice, will make you feel like a globally conscious cook, and the homemade version is vastly better than most store-bought jars. If you're not ready to make the plunge, I've got a half gallon of it waiting to be eaten in my fridge. Come by and I'll send you home with some. Just make sure to bring an airtight container. Your partner or roommate will thank you. 


Fiery Homemade Kimchi
This recipe is from Fine Cooking. Thank goodness I found a link to it, because I didn't feel like typing it out. It instructs you to let the paste sit for 24 hours before you combine it with the cabbage. I didn't do that. I let it sit for a couple hours. I was tempted to just grate the ginger rather than julienne it, but I'm glad I didn't. The long, crunchy strands are toothsome and delicious. I didn't matchstick the garlic, however. Why would someone impatient with details go for that?! I just finely chopped it. And what else can you do with kimchi besides eat it straight from the jar? Make soup (recipe coming up, I'm lightly promising), mix it with scrambled eggs, drizzle a little sesame oil over it and serve as a side salad. Let me know what you come up with.


Reader Comments (13)

I've missed you here.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEm

Hey! This is awesome! I've always wanted to try making kimchi someday, but I thought you had to bury it in the ground. I'm going to keep an eye open for a half gallon jar at the Goodwill and commence Operation Kimchi!

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Rowdy Chowgirl

Hi there! Here's a tip. I got this beautiful Italian airtight jar at Ross Dress for Less for $4. And they have more. (Of course, if you can be green and get one used, all the better. But sometimes my desire for kimchi is greater than my free time.)

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Hmmm... I'm in the "I've not been near enough it to decide" group. And while I agree that the jar is LOVELY (and I just might zip over to my local Ross this very afternoon) I'm going to have to mull over the idea of making homemade kimchi. I have made 5 batches of olive oil granola in the last two weeks and a wild & delicious array of fried rice dishes beautifully featuring the best of my veggie leftovers (prior to finding this blog I had never made my own granola or fried rice) so I am convinced that you are right about EVERYTHING that is food. But even so, I'm not sure I'm ready. Maybe when we organize your Reader Pot Luck, I can try a little of yours to help me decide. :)

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Sun

I'm in the "I haven't touched it camp.". I'm honestly a little nervous. Funny story about my one Korean food experience. Before kids, ben and I were in Vancouver for the night and famished. The only restaurant in quick distance was the Korean restaurant adjoint to the hotel. While waiting to be seated we had the server walk by us a few times and no one in the restaurant. Finally, she stops, "The liquor store is across the street.". We assured her that we wanted to eat there and weren't looking for the liquor store. Come to find we were the only white people eating there that night and her comment might not have been too far off base.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKamille

Ah, I love reading this! I live in Korea and have gotten used to eating kimchi at one or two meals per day, and I miss it when I don't! A restaurant's kimchi becomes a factor when deciding where to have dinner with friends, "That's the place with the really good, strong kimchi!" or "Their kimchi is kind of salty" or "They have that crunchier kind". I've wanted to make it while here, but my kitchen and fridge are too tiny. Luckily, Korean friends have gifted it to me, mostly in November and December when families have their Kimchi Nal- kimchi making day. The day depends on the weather (when they are harvesting or buying all their cabbage) and also when the multiple generations can all get together. Then they make months worth of kimchi in a weekend. You know it's kimchi nal season because there are piles of cabbage about 4x4x4 feet in grocery stores, and congregations of multiple 50-gallon tubs of salt water on the sidewalks for soaking the cabbage. Also, kimchi in Korean = 김치 . Can't wait to make it when I get back to the US! :)

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Me too!

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElenor

oh how i wish that jar were in my kitchen right now!

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbethany

I just did a google search for the kimchi recipe I heard on the Splendid Table podcast while on a run today and, WHAT?!!??, out came your blog with a kimchi recipe of its own. Way to rank high on google Sarah! Excited to find the time to try this out. I have become a bit of an addict (the only one in my family, of course.)

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermisha

I totally agree with you in that Korean food is an undiscovered gem in the Asian restaurant business. But I kind of like it that way. It keeps the dives as dives and the food authentic, cheap and delicious. Unfortunately the sushi craze has made sushi into things that would be unrecognizable to the Japanese eye. My friends have separate 'kimchi fridges' for this staple food - beware of a permeating, all-encompassing fragrance! I'm not kidding! :)

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterme.you.key

Yaaaaaay! She's back. It's because you do the living, Sarah, that I'm here listening in on the re-living. Take all the time you need to do the living, but know that your sharing lights a little candle in my heart. Thank you.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercate

I'm Korean and have been eating kimchi my whole life. The recipe you listed is quite authentic and similar to how my mum and I make it. I never realized how much work it is until I saw all the steps written out...

Anyways, a little suggestion: kimchi fried rice with a fried egg on top. One of THE go-to comfort foods!

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Thank you for your sharing, it is worth collecting blog.
July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNike Shocks

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