Monday, August 12, 2013

Homemade Trade: Vegan Kimchi

Kimchi is a staple in Korean food, and is totally worth making yourself because you can control the flavor. Essentially, you just need cabbage and patience. I made this kimchi for the homemade trade club (last time I made coconut almond granola, remember?). This version is completely vegan, meaning, unlike a lot of Korean-imported kimchi, it doesn't use fish sauce. My recipe is based on this helpful recipe from Greatist, and makes 24 ounces of kimchi (I split it up into six 4-ounce containers). I look forward to eating this as a side dish or snack, as they do in Korea, or even in a grilled cheese, or a quesadilla, which sounds crazy/delicious. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: no actual cooking, but you do need to let it ferment for 3-5+ days before eating

One (1) large head of cabbage -- cheers for being a CSA member!
Two (2) tablespoons of salt
Three (3) cloves of garlic, minced
One (1) teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated
One (1) bunch of green onions, chopped finely
One (1) teaspoon of sugar
Three (3) tablespoons of Korean chili paste -- I used the Annie Chung's Go-Chu-Jang sauce, but you can get more authentic paste from the H-Mart
Optional: you can add additional veggies, such as yellow onion, carrots, or chili peppers, for extra taste

Peel off and chop the cabbage leaves into small strips, as you do this, set aside a few large cabbage leaves for later.
Put the cabbage strips into a large bowl with the salt. Cover and let sit for at least an hour, but up to twelve hours. I let them sit for about three hours. There needs to be at least 1/4 cup of juice in the bottom of the bowl by the time it's finished.

In a separate smaller bowl, mix the garlic, ginger, sugar, and chili paste together until well-blended.
Once the cabbage is fully wilted, drain the cabbage from the juice (but make sure to keep the juice! You'll need it!), and mix it thoroughly with the paste mixture. It should be completely coated.

Pack the coated cabbage leaves into a few glass jars. You need to pack them super-tightly so there is no air pockets at all.
Once they are packed, spoon an equal amount of juice into each jar, and add a little water if needed so that cabbage is fully covered with brine.

Top each jar of cabbage with one of the fresh leaves that you set aside earlier. This will act as a barrier to the air. This will go on top of the kimchi before you close the jar.
Loosely close the jar and set aside for 3-5 days at room temperature.

After 3-5 days, open the jar and throw away the top cabbage piece. Mix your kimchi together and taste; it should be sour and spicy.
Store tightly in a jar and this will last a few months. It will continue to ferment over time, so the flavor will continue to change. As long as it still tastes fresh, it is good to eat!

Check out all of the awesome things I got at the Homemade Trade Club!
Vegan Slim Jims, a homemade eclair, mini-monkey bread, Cincinnati chili mic, homemade lemon basil fettuccine with pesto, & a Citra Hop IPA homebrew.