Sunday, April 22, 2007


Komapsumnida to Laura D. for sending a jar of whey and a recipe home with my wife last week. I went and got some bokchoi (chinese cabbage). I had all the other ingredients--except the whey.

I made kimchi today. That's basically spicy sauerkraut. Kimchi has as many recipes as there are families who make it. Mine uses carrot shavings, hot peppers, dried powdered shrimp, sea salt, ginger, chopped garlic, onion, bokchoi and whey. I didn't have the daikon radish. If you know where to get one in the TRF area please tell me.

Whey? No way? Yes, whey! Why whey? It has the right kind of bacteria to get the cabbage fermenting without too little or too much acidity. So we started above with the carrot shavings the peppers, the shrimp powder, the garlic, the ginger, and the salt. Here we top it with shredded onion and the bokchoi.

How pathetic am I. Well, after having tasted a friend's mom's homemade, genuine, clay-pot in the back yard, garden grown vegetables, kimchee; it was pretty hard to please me for a while. But now, I crave Jo-San Kimchee at Wal-Mart. I even have spent $5 per pint on the stuff. Not very often, but the fact that I have done so shows how much I crave the good stuff, not merely Jo-San.

Familiarity breeds contempt, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

So you pound all these ingredients together (yes, for you more astute readers, that is, in fact, the end of one of the saplings I cut for a bow stave). After a while they get all pulpy and juicy.

That's when you put the stuff in jars. Already it smells sooooo delicious.

Fortunately, it doesn't wash out of the fingernails so easily, so one can enjoy the aroma for quite a while.

When you have the mash it takes up probably about 1/3 the space all the original ingredients took up. I was worried that my 2 heads of bokchoi would take up too many canning jars.

No worries.

When you fill the jars you have to leave some expansion room for the fermentation process. The recipe the Laura D. gave to us recommended at least an inch from the top of the jar.

So, taking that inch into consideration, with 2 heads of bokchoi, and all the other ingredients, I filled 2 quart jars, and 3 pint jars with raw kimchi.

Now we have to wait 3 days.

Maybe we should make this a Good Friday to Easter Sunday tradition in the future.

Notice the plastic pan to catch the overflow. It's three days warm ferment. Then after 3 days we are supposed to put it in the fridge.

I'm going to try making German sauerkraut sometime soon.