Kim Chi – Monday Made

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“An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup”~H.L.Mencken


When I lived in Japan I came across Kim Chi for the first time.

It is actually a Korean dish, but the Japanese have embraced it to a point that you can buy little tubs of it at the 24 Hour Convenience stores. I need to clarify that you can buy pretty much everything at the “conbini”.

Going there to buy your lunch was not a sad event ending in either pies or hotdogs like it would here. You can get sushi hand rolls, pork buns, little dishes of rice and in winter you can get a sort of soup that sits on the counter and is divided into little sections of different vegetables/meat that you would like added.

It is hard to explain how amazing this stuff was. I pretty much lived off it.

Anyway, back to the Kim Chi.

It is fermented chilli cabbage, basically. Although I have had it made with daikon (a large white raddish). A vegan friend of mine said that she went to a cooking class where they pretty much just used all the veggie scraps to make it.

Here is a recipe that I quite like, in makes about 4 cups after the cabbage has gone a bit soggy. That is a lot of Kim Chi.

WARNING: Get a jar that seals or else this stuff will stink your whole house out!

What you need:

  • 5 cups of roughly chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Water (to fill bowl with cabbage in it)
  • 2 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chilli flakes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 apple or crisp pear
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 spring onion (I used a very small leek)

What to do:

  1. Place the chopped up cabbage (about 1 inch pieces) into a large bowl and mix through the 1/2 cup of salt. Add water until the cabbage is covered. Cover with cling film and leave on the kitchen bench for about 4 hours.
  2. Place all of the sauce ingredients, except the spring onion, in a blender and whizz until a paste.
  3. Drain the cabbage and give a quick rinse before returning to the bowl. Add the sauce, finely chopped spring onion and mix well.
  4. Cover well with cling wrap (a glass bowl works best as the cling actually clings) and leave on the bench for a day. Transfer it to the fridge for a further two days. Feel free to put it into smaller jars for your convenience!
  5. Eat with some steamed rice and vegetables!
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