“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
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!
- 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:
- 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.
- Place all of the sauce ingredients, except the spring onion, in a blender and whizz until a paste.
- Drain the cabbage and give a quick rinse before returning to the bowl. Add the sauce, finely chopped spring onion and mix well.
- 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!
- Eat with some steamed rice and vegetables!