Friday, April 8, 2011

i made him kimchi

"I'm making kimchi," I said to Spoke when he came into the kitchen as I was trying to keep the cabbage submerged in the salt water.

"Great, I love kimchi," he said, turning to head back to the yard.

Pick me up off the floor!

"You've had kimchi?" I asked.

"Yeah, in Saigon.  Some are really hot."

The humor of it struck me as I'd just grabbed a bottle of spicy RED ROOSTER Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary Mix to help weigh down the cabbage. 

Funny, after so many years together, I can still be surprised by Spoke.  I like that.

Kimchi, a condiment made with Napa cabbage and mixed with any number of things, often scallions, radish, garlic, ginger, and dried red peppers, can range from mild to fiery.  Once ready, it's added to soup, stir fried rice, sandwiches, even omelets.  Its uses are endless.

It just needs time to ferment. 

Like those buried eggs the South Vietnamese officer so proudly offered to Spoke... 


1 1/2 pounds of napa cabbage
9 cups of very warm water
3/4 cups Kosher salt
2 small carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes

Wash each cabbage leaf.  Cut them into chunks.  (This will allow you to serve them this size or to chop them finer, depending on the dish.)  Set aside.

In a very large bowl, dissolve the salt in the water.  Add the chopped cabbage.  Use a weighted bowl or plate to make sure the cabbage stays submerged.  Let it sit for 4 hours.

Drain the cabbage and rinse it well.  Rinse and dry the soaking bowl.  Add the drained cabbage and the rest of the ingredients.  Mix until it's evenly combined.

Pack into sterilized jars and refrigerate for several days until it has fermented and is ready to serve.

{makes about four pints}

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