Vegan Kimchi

Saturday, October 29, 2016

We're having some friends over for a kimchi making demonstration this evening, which is the excuse I've needed to finally write up the recipe.  I've been making batches every 2-3 months over the last couple of years.  I have a growing list of friends that get some... I end up giving about a third of each batch away.

This recipe is actually several individual recipes that you combine at the end.  The cabbage soaks for 8 or 9 hours, so be prepared to start early and make a day of it.  Make sure and start the broth and porridge steps early enough for them to cool completely.  Everything else I do after I start draining the cabbage.  This video from Seonkyoung Longest is an amazing tutorial

Kimchi is usually made with a lot of fish sauce and other fermented fishy ingredients.  I've done a couple of things to augment that.  First, I use a seaweed and shiitake broth.  This is my go to broth for most any Asian cuisine.  Second, I add doenjang.  Doenjang is the Korean version of Miso and, to me, it has a more fermented, deeper flavor.  You can use miso, but I really recommend doenjang, for everything really!  Finally, gochugaru is Korean red pepper flakes and are a must.  It is a little hot, a little smokey and a little fruity.  It is delicious on everything.

Vegan Kimchi

3 large napa cabbages
3/4 cup coarse sea salt
24 cups cold water, mixed with 2 1/4 cups sea salt
Additional water as needed: 2 cups water mixed with 3 tbs salt

2 cups umami broth
1/4 cup mochi (sweet rice flour)

Kimchi Paste:
1 cup umami broth
6 tbs doenjang
1 tbs sugar
25 cloves garlic
2 tbs ginger
1/2 medium onion
1 fuji or gala apple
1-2 cups gochugaru, korean red pepper flakes (I use 1 1/2 cups)

2 lbs korean radish or daikon
2 cups garlic chives
6-8  green onions

Cabbage (about 30 minutes + 8-9 hours soaking time):  Dissolve salt into water in a large basin.  Cut cabbages into quarters.  Wash quarters and shake them dry.  For each quarter, sprinkle salt on the thick part of each rib.  About 1 tbs salt per quarter.  Put quarters in salt water basin and leave to soak for 8-9 hours turning every hour or so, until you can bend back a rib without it snapping.

Porridge (about 5 minutes):  Stir mochi into broth and bring to a boil.  Boil for a  couple of minutes and remove from heat.  Cool completely.

Kimchi Paste (about 15 minutes):   Combine all ingredients except for the gochugaru and blend.  Stir the gochugaru into the blended paste.  Taste and adjust as necessary.  As the kimchi ages, it will become less hot.  I always err on the side of hot.  The raw flavor of the onions and garlic will also mellow.

Vegetables (about 10 minutes):  Cut the radish into thin (maybe 1/8”) strips about 2 inches long.  Cut the garlic chives into 2 inch strips.  Slice the green onions into quarters and cut into 2 inch strips.

Final Assembly (about an hour):  Remove cabbage from the salt water and rinse in a tub of cold water.  Do this several times, draining the water and refilling with fresh several times.  Wash under a sink in between.  I do this 3-4 times, until the water no longer tastes salty.  Drain in a colander for an hour.  The nob of the cabbage quarters should be facing up to allow the water to drain completely. You should drain as much water as possible so the final product isn’t watery.  You can do the kimchi paste and vegetables steps while the cabbage is draining.  Just make sure that the porridge has completely cooled.

Combine and stir porridge and paste in a large mixing bowl.  Add the vegetables and stir with your hand.  Let the paste and vegetables sit for a few minutes and stir again.  For each quarter of cabbage, put cabbage in the mixing bowl on top of the paste.  Between each rib brush a small handful of paste and vegetable mixture.  Fold the outer rib over the quarter and put into a gallon ziplock bag or the container you will be fermenting and storing the kimchi in.

Seal the container and leave to ferment at room temperature for 2-3 days.  Unless it’s hot, it will probably take the full 3 days.  It is done when the liquid bubbles and it smells like kimchi.  Refrigerate.  The kimchi will continue to ferment as it ages.  My favorite kimchi is the last couple of ribs, usually 2-3 months after I’ve made it.

Makes about 15 lbs (30 cups)

30 servings:  80 calories (1g fat, 17g carbs, 5g protein)

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