Korean cuisine has probably my biggest food discovery in 2011. Before this, I’ve only been to a Korean barbecue restaurant twice, and both times I was intimidated by the noise, smell and having your own personal grill to try ordering on my own. Then I manned up and went to Seoul Restaurant with my dear Celina (from Fables in Fashion) to start getting to know the food from this lovely country. Since my visit to the restaurant, I’ve been googling and surfing around for more on Korean food. It didn’t take long to come across the second cutest cook* on Youtube, Maangchi. In the first video I’d ever seen of hers, she was wearing this adorable pink bob wig – I honestly thought she was cosplaying! But it turns out that she’s just plain cute.
So, the second piece of the story is that we recently signed up to get vegie boxes from Aussie Farmers. We’d heard good things about them from friends, and the thought of having a weekly “mystery box” (don’t judge me, you were thinking it too!) was so much fun, I couldn’t see any reason not to sign up.
Our first box had a whole (albeit small) red cabbage. Problem was, I still had most of a white cabbage I bought the weekend before! So the first thing I could think of to use up so much cabbage was to make kimchi.
* Sorry Maangchi, but the cutest Youtube cook is Francis and his chef from Cooking with Dog!
Maangchi’s Emergency Kimchi
From Maangchi’s Blog: Yangbaechu Kimchi
Makes absolutely heaps, but keeps indefinitely in the fridge
15 minutes preparation time
Please note – I only made a half batch.
450 grams cabbage (1 smallish cabbage, or half of a normal white cabbage)
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup salt
1/6 cup hot pepper flakes
1/8 cup fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 cup garlic, minced (about 2-3 cloves)
1/6 cup green onions (2-3 stalks)
1/8 cup carrot, peeled and cut into fine strips (about 1/2 carrot)
Huge mixing bowl (preferably not metal)
Salad spinner or strainer
Small mixing bowl
Spatula or gloves (for mixing)
Remove the outer leaves and core of the cabbage, then chop into thin strips.
Put the strips in a largest bowl you have.
Add the salt and cold water. Mix them thoroughly to dissolve the salt, and set aside for 10 minutes for the cabbage to soften.
Chop and mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add sugar to taste – I generally find kimchi too sour, but I stuck to the recipe this time.
Rinse and drain the cabbage. I used my salad spinner to get them really, really dry before adding the rest of the ingredients.
And done! You can eat it straight away, or seal it up in the fridge, remembering to double-wrap with cling wrap so the smell doesn’t transfer to other foods.
I found the fresh kimchi to be slight, tangy and still very crunchy, kind of like an amped-up coleslaw. After about 3 hours, it had softened a bit more, but the fish sauce taste was very strong. The next day, the cabbage was quite soft, but the fish sauce and chilli had mellowed out again, making it very refreshing. In fact, I had it as a side-dish for palabok (rice noodles with a rich shrimp-based gravy), and it was a really lovely, sharp counterpoint.
It’s now been nearly a week since I made the kimchi, and I still have over three-quarters of it left… I wonder what it’s like now!
Kamsamhamnida, Maangchi! This is a great dish, and I’ve definitely converted to loving all sorts of Korean food.
Do you like Korean food? Tell me about it in the comments!