Until this past week I was taking a Food Writing class at the French Culinary Institute instructed by food writer Alan Richman. The class included a variety of topics surrounding food journalism. Each class had different assignments, including one to write a service piece for a product. If you don’t know what a service piece is, check out the weekly Dining and Wine section in the New York Times and you’ll find several. The basic idea is to build up a particular product that you, the author, enjoy and explain why the reader should want it.
As is evident with my posts, I have a love for Asian foods, especially Vietnamese, but one type that I often neglect is Korean food. I have always enjoyed it when I have eaten it, but I am not all that familiar with the dishes. For my service piece and my own piece of mind, I decided to head to Koreatown and eat some delicious Korean food and pick up a product at the H-Mart (Asian Supermarket) to write about. After eating, I was set on making my own Kimichee. In the past, I would always fail to find the Korean chili powder which is a necessity for the dish. The H-mart had a dozen or more varieties, so I just had to pick the right one. With most the information in Korean, I guessed and picked one that was in the middle price range. With the chili powder in hand, I picked out the rest of my ingredients, most of which you can find at a regular supermarket (scallion, cabbage, ginger, garlic and daikon radish).
I’m certain that my kimchee won’t be anywhere near as good as those who have been making it for years, having special blends and secrets, but the recipe from epicurious was highly recommended and I hope to get some advice from kimchee experts on how to improve. Here goes nothing…
Based on Recipe from Epicurious
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 head Napa cabbage, heart removed and cut into 1” chunks
6-8 garlic cloves peeled
1 inch piece of ginger root (peeled)
~1/4 cup fish sauce (just under 1/4 cup)
1 small daikon radish, peeled and grated
1 bunch of green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
¼ cup Korean chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Sesame oil (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)
Dissolve 1/1 cup salt in 4-5 cups water. Soak cabbage in the salt water for 3 to 4 hours, make sure cabbage is complete submerged.
Add garlic, ginger, and fish sauce to food processor and blend until a paste is formed.
In large bowl, combine radish, green onions, garlic mixture, chili powder, 1 tablespoon salt and optional sugar. Use a spoon to mix to avoid contact with chili powder.
Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Mix into bowl with other ingredients. Mix until cabbage is completely covered. Place into airtight jars (like ball canning jars)
5. Let sit in a cool place for 2-3 days and then refrigerate for several days. Kimichee will hold for a few weeks. After about 2-3 weeks, leftover kimchee can be used in fried rice or other dishes. Enjoy!