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
- daikon (common substitutes: carrots or cucumbers)
- green onion
- 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…)
- I soaked my chopped up cabbage in salted water for about 2 hours.
- Strained and rinsed the cabbage out. Dumped it into a large bowl.
- 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.
- Mixed everything together and dumped it into my glass jar. Sealed it up and put it in a cool place.
Now the fermenting begins…