The Kimchi Project
About a month ago, we made a recipe from Bon Appétit that included kimchi smashed potatoes. I loved the potatoes, but even more, I loved the pungent plastic tub of kimchi that we bought from our Korean-owned bodega on the corner. It was the best kimchi I’ve ever had and quite simply, the only kimchi I’ve ever wanted to eat on its own.
Since then, I’ve been eating delivery lunches of kimchi bokum from a Korean restaurant around the corner and I’m now firmly residing in the pro-kimchi camp. (It’s pretty tough not to be, with its incredible health benefits and all.)
So, this week, I decided to make my own, using Momofuku’s recipe for paechu (cabbage) kimchi. David Chang’s recipe includes a little more sugar than most recipes, but I typically love all things Momofuku, so I figured it was a good starting point.
Ryan dutifully picked up all of the more obscure ingredents—kochukaru (Korean chili powder), usukuchi (a lighter, sweeter soy sauce), and a jar of salted shrimp—from the H-Mart in Koreatown and then I set to work.
Momofuku’s Napa Cabbage Kimchi
Adapted from Momofuku
1 medium Napa cabbage, discoloured or loose outer leaves discarded
2 tbsp. Losher salt
1/2 c., plus 2 tbsp. sugar
20 garlic cloves, minced
20 slices, peeled fresh ginger, minced
1/2 c. kochukaru (Korean chilli powder)
1/4 c. fish sauce
1/4 c. usukuchi (light soy sauce)
2 tsp. jarred salted shrimp
1/2 c. spring onions, coarsely chopped (greens and whites)
1/2 c. julienned carrots
1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise in half, then cut the halves crosswise into 1 inch-wide pieces. Toss the cabbage with the salt and 2 tbsp. of the sugar in a bowl. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Combine the garlic, ginger, kochukaru, fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp and remaining 1/2 c. sugar in a large bowl. If it is very thick, add water 1/3 c. at a time until the brine is just thicker than a creamy salad dressing but no longer a sludge. Stir in the spring onions and carrots.
3. Drain the cabbage and add it to the brine. Let sit out for at least 24 hours, then refrigerate if desired. The kimchi will be good after 24 hours, better after one week, and best after two weeks.
There’s nothing labor-intensive about kimchi at all, so I foresee a lot more batches in the future. It’s been almost 48 hours since I jarred this batch and it’s already delicious, but I’ll update again in a week or so when I actually use it to accompany a meal. (If I don’t eat the entire jar on its own first.)
Do you have a favorite kimchi recipe? I’m hoping to try a few more and then develop my “own” blend.