“Kimchi, Kimchi, Kimchi”

The kimchi refrigerator.

Kelson and I lived in LA for about 4 years.  We left some really great people, great weather, and great food.  We had a lot of favorites in LA, but we definitely developed a soft spot for Korean food.

We have a favorite set of sisters in LA who have the nicest family ever.  The first time we were in their family home, our eyes spotted this large silver appliance.  And yes folks, this family had a kimchi refrigerator.

I know you probably just googled it.  Hell, we did too as soon as we went home that night!  We had no idea people took their kimchi so seriously!  And how there were so many gradients of fermentation.  I mean, isn’t it just rotting cabbage and chilli???

Ah, we were so simple-minded back then.

Years later, we have continued to have kimchi at restaurants, from the supermarket, or from friends… but we never thought to make it ourselves.  Until now.  Why you ask?  Well, let’s just say I got sick of buying tiny jars of kimchi and polishing them off so quickly.  And to top it off, we learned to make a mean bulgolgi, chap chae, and kimchi fried rice… and what goes with that?  Lots and lots of kimchi.

Day 1 of Kimchi Making

I did some lovely internet searches and found the basics of what I needed to start this process:

  • glass jar that can be sealed
  • napa cabbage
  • salt
  • sugar
  • water
  • daikon (common substitutes: carrots or cucumbers)
  • green onion
  • garlic
  • Korean spices… ?

Kelson and I have one rule of thumb we follow when trying a new recipe.  FOLLOW IT TO THE TEE THE FIRST TIME.  Go with it, see where it takes you, and then make alterations to your liking the next time you go for it.

So I followed the most basic recipe I could find.  Unfortunately I do not have a Korean market conveniently near me, so I found a “Kimchi mix” that seemed to have the spice I was looking for.  And yes, I bought a mix pack.  Don’t judge!  This is the first time I’m making it!  And in my defense, at least there was Korean printed on the outside (although made in Hawaii…)

  1. I soaked my chopped up cabbage in salted water for about 2 hours.
  2. Strained and rinsed the cabbage out.  Dumped it into a large bowl.
  3. Mixed the other ingredients together and tasted the “kimchi mix”.  Not very spicy, which left me worried.  I added a large spoonful of spicy garlic chilli sauce to help give it more of a kick.
  4. Mixed everything together and dumped it into my glass jar.  Sealed it up and put it in a cool place.

Now the fermenting begins…

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3 thoughts on ““Kimchi, Kimchi, Kimchi”

  1. that kimchi looks pretty good! we have a kimchi fridge! …um, with no kimchi in it. can you bring some over (along with bread and naan) 🙂

  2. Best of luck with your kimchi making! Looks great! Will you post more photos as the kimchi ferments? I look forward to seeing it progress…

    Off-topic: in H-Mart, I was intrigued by large posters advertising the Kimchi Chronicles. The posters promised a grand epic of kimchi – I imagined the distant origins of fermented vegetables buried underground and the secrets they kept. If I watched this show, maybe I’d learn the differences between all the different pails on the wall of kimchi at H-Mart! When could I watch this show?!

    So I googled it as soon as I could. Sadly, it is just a cooking and travel show that introduces some Korean food. Not an epic tale after all. And it’s not all about kimchi. 😦

  3. Bread posts are definitely in the works… I’ll be leaving that to Mr. Kelson.

    Grace mentioned the “Chronicles” too! How lame! Maybe if I master a great kimchi recipe to share, it will deserve the title of “The Chronicles of Kimchi”. BTW when you read on the web about the history and process, it really would make a compelling series.

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