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Kimchi Making Experiment

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Quahaug View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 March 2014 at 05:34
I recently read an article in Health magazine that identified Kimchi (Korea) as one of the world's healthiest foods. This article lead me to a video (Sandor Katz) about fermentation which lead me to his book "Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods." This stirred up the dopamine receptors so I decided to try my hand at making kimchi. Why kimchi? It suppose to be very healthy, Korean spices as some of my favorite, it tastes great and, it suppose to be very simple to make (emphasis added). However, like everything else is life, there are things that could go wrong even with the simplest things. Some of the things to watch for; oxygen pockets in canning container where mold can form, making sure all vegetables stay under fluid to avoid mold formation, and, if using Mason jars like I am, do NOT tighten the lids. The fermentation process produces gas which, if the lid is too tight, the Mason jar can explode. 

So I decided to give it a try and get the process rolling. I have pictures of the "hope-to-be-good-tasting" kimchi in jars but did not take any Embarrassedwhen I began the process. 

I followed a recipe from "Foodie with Family" website which uses Napa cabbage, green onion (green part) and carrots for the vegetables. For the paste they use garlic, ginger, green onion (white part), fish sauce, white miso, unsweetened apple or pear juice and Korean chili powder. I used hot Korean red pepper paste (Gochu-jang) which I hope was not a mistake. Gochu-jang contains MSG, which is a preservative that could have an affect on the fermentation process. I will have to wait and see. After letting the cabbage and carrots soak as per the recipe for a couple of hours, I mixed the vegetables with the paste put it into Mason jars. Jars were placed, covers not tightened, in pan to catch juices that bubble out.  






No explosions but juices are bubble out. ShockedHas a very strong garlicky/cabbage smell (lovely IMHO) but wife said it smells like, lets just say awful does not begin with the letter S. Juices bubbling out, smells lovely or (S)awful, and some air pockets have formed so I think we are on our way. 

I will press the air pockets out and make small ceramic weights to place into each jar. These will keep the vegetables under the liquid much like a Harsch crock pot does. (just learned about Harsch crocks)

The fermentation process is very active with lots of bubble over with the aroma getting stronger (better). Just had to try it so made kimchi scrabbled eggs. 



In the following days I just had to give the kimchi a try, again. Decided to have a little kimchi breakfast sandwich on a papo secos (Portuguese roll) and whip up some kimchi fried rice for lunch. The kimchi has a nice tanginess both cold and sauteed and a pleasant aftertaste. This experimental batch is not going to last that long.






After making the kimchi (cabbage) and then researching (kind of backwards), it is my understanding "kimchi" is the process of fermenting vegetables. The most common vegetable used is Napa cabbage but there are many vegetables that can be used. I am planning on a second batch and will use different vegetable in the mixes. But for now the rest of the first experimental batch is headed for kimchi stew and kimchi dumplings. Have a great day all.  

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Hoser View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2014 at 01:29
It sure looks like you are on the right track Quahog....personally, I love kimchi. I use it on burgers or just eat it plain or as a side dish.
I wouldn't worry about the MSG if I were you..it is not a preservative, but just a flavor enhancer and I doubt it would have much effect on your finished product.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Quahaug View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Quahaug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2014 at 18:40
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

It sure looks like you are on the right track Quahog....personally, I love kimchi. I use it on burgers or just eat it plain or as a side dish.
I wouldn't worry about the MSG if I were you..it is not a preservative, but just a flavor enhancer and I doubt it would have much effect on your finished product.

This stuff is so good and is definitely additive. Planning another batch this weekend and will be adding some salted shrimp and some daikon to the recipe. So many options to make and use kimchi. 
BTW, "Quahog" spoken like a true Rhode Islander. My wife and I were born (Fall River) and raised in Rhode Island (Bristol). She was sick of the cold and snow so we moved to Florida 5 years ago. You guys got hit hard this year but spring is finally here so it will start to get warmer. Stay well.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 March 2014 at 01:27
I hope to be joining you folks down in Florida before the year is out Quahog. We've had it with this crappy weather and are planning on relocating permanently.

I started a batch of kimchi myself yesterday, with plenty of radishes, scallions, napa cabbage, garlic, shrimp paste, hot pepper and a touch of sugar. Will keep you folks updated as the "bugs" get it bubbling.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2014 at 11:03
This will be on the to do list very soon. Maybe this weekend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2014 at 17:29
Well, it's on my "done" list. Just finished a batch using the same recipe. Only difference is, I added some baby bok choy, just because I had some on hand, Hopefully, I'll have some tasty stuff soon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2015 at 14:19
   Love to get some updates from the others that gave this a try.  This will be on my list at some point in the future.
Enjoy The Food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2015 at 14:44
It's good, and easy to make. Give it a try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2015 at 14:10
Hoser, you mentioned using radishes. Was that common radishes or Daikon? Daikons are hard to get out in the sticks though I have some seed if I remember to plant them this summer. Can you use red radish in kimchi?
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Tom

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2015 at 16:38
No reason not to, Tom. Any vegetable that can be pickled (and that includes most) can go in a kimchi pot.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2016 at 17:02
Got lucky on daikon. The principal grocery store that I use has changed hands twice in the last six months meaning a lot of employee turnover including the produce manager. While the new guy has been making some mistakes he has also brought in some things never seen before, notably daikon radish, So, I made a batch of kimchi yesterday. I was surprised at sampling the root, very mild radish flavor. I hadn't known what to expect--whether the radish name was just based on similar appearance or actual botanical relationship. It's so mild I don't expect it to change the kimchi significantly.
Best,
Tom

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