I’m not the kind of girl to pick a pickle off a burger, give me a gherkin every time, extra if you’ve got them. I really like pickled stuff. Ok, I’ve never dared try a pickled egg, but that holds some bad memories of working in pubs having to fish the last one out of a giant jar with it looking up at you slipping out of reach in it’s vinegary bath. Probably put a few people off trying pickled eggs with that description, oh well!
Anyway, back to the pickle in question, kimchi. An ancient Korean food, consisting of fermenting vegetables, that only seems to have appeared on menus more over here in the last few years. It’s popping up as a burger topping, added to the side of rice and noodles and even put into grilled cheese sandwiches. There’s lots of different variations for how to make it and I’m no expert, but it seems to mostly use Chinese cabbage and today the fermentation is usually made spicy by adding Korean chilli flakes, gochugaru, or Korean chilli paste, gochujang. Veggies and vegan’s be careful, it’s usually made with fish sauce, so check the ingredients before you order it when you’re out!
I’ve had a read at a few recipes for making Kimchi quickly, so here’s my take on a quick, veggie and vegan friendly, kimchi recipe…
1 Chinese cabbage
3 spring onions – finely sliced
2 carrots – sliced into matchsticks or coarsely grated
3 cm piece of ginger – finely chopped or grated
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
2 tbsp Korean chilli flakes or paste – if you can’t get this use something like Sriracha.
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp salt – sounds like a lot but it’s washed off after you’ve salted the cabbage!
Start by slicing the cabbage, length ways through the core, into roughly 3cm strips, put this into a mixing bowl and mix with the salt, then leave to one side for an hour. While the cabbage is set to one side get your other veg prepped and, make the paste by mixing together the ginger, garlic, chilli flakes or paste and rice wine vinegar in a little bowl. Time to read or do some chores now until the cabbage has done it’s thing.
After the cabbage has had it’s hour, tip it into a colander and rinse it under cold running water for a bit, then drain it and dry thoroughly. Add it back to the original bowl adding the carrots and spring onion too, next, mix the paste into the veg. It’ll taste good right away so you can serve some straight away, or put into a large jar or Tupperware, leave it to ferment at room temperature overnight, then pop it in the fridge the next morning. It’ll keep for about two weeks in the fridge. I’m told that the flavour will improve the longer it’s left, just waiting to find out, not sure it’ll last that long!
Try adding it as a side to dishes or putting it in your sandwiches to give them a kick. Or you can even make kimchi fried rice, just chop it up finely and stir fry it with your cooked cold rice as you would for any fried rice dish. Think that’s what I’m going to try.