Vegan Kimchi

Saturday, October 29, 2016 0 comments

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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Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 0 comments

Doenjang Jjigae is my absolute favorite soup.  I started making it this summer in 100 degree heat when no one ever thinks about stew.  Now that fall has set in, I can't get enough.  Doenjang is Korea's counterpart to Miso.  It has a coarser texture and a deeper, more fermented flavor.  For this post, I made Doenjang Jjigae and Miso Soup back to back.  My conclusion:  If you like miso soup, you will fall in love with Doenjang jjigae.  It is so worth an extra ingredient floating around the back of your fridge.

Doenjang Jjigae

3 cups umami broth, or low salt vegetable broth
1/3 cup Doenjang
1 1/2 cups Asian Radish or Daikon, diced
1 medium potato, diced
4 oz enoki or other mushroom (more if you love mushrooms)
2 green korean peppers (or anaheim or jalapeno)
2 mildly hot red peppers (or more green peppers)
1 large zucchini, diced
Serve with Cooked Rice

In a large pot, whisk the doenjang into the broth.  Add the Asian Radish, potato and mushrooms.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the peppers and zucchini.  Boil for an other 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add cooked rice to four bowls and spoon the stew over the rice.

One note about the peppers.  Korean Green Peppers are slightly warm and close in flavor to Anaheim peppers, although a little smaller.  You could also substitute Jalapeno for a little spicier option.  I love the red peppers for the color and for a burst of spice.  I use Korean Red Peppers, when I can find them or Thai Prik Chifa.  A red Jalapeno or Fresno are options or just more green peppers.  I would not suggest Thai Bird's Eye peppers.  This is not meant to be a spicy soup.

4 Servings:  231 Cal (8g fat, 23g carbs, 21g protein)

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Umami Broth

Sunday, October 25, 2015 0 comments

This is a vegan replacement for many Asian fish-based broths.  It's a quick and easy broth.  Konbu gives it a nice from the sea flavor and joins with shiitake to add a lot of umami flavor.  It's perfect for any Korean broth with their love of garlic.  For Japanese or Chinese, I will subtract a couple cloves of garlic and add an inch of ginger.  Also, this broth has no added salt.  It is often the base for soups or sauces with miso, soy sauce or other high salt foods.  It is important to for these recipes to start with a low salt base.

Umami Broth
4 cups water
5 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
3 stalks green onions
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 sheet konbu (a little smaller than a nori sheet)
1 bay leaf

Optional:  1 inch ginger, only 3 cloves garlic.

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain through a mesh strainer.  Squeeze out the liquid in the mushrooms and discard the solids.  If you don't simmer for more than 30 minutes, there is little need to strain through cheesecloth.  If you cook it too long the konbu will start to disintegrate and make the broth more cloudy.  Add enough water to make 3 cups of broth.

3 Servings:  29 (1 g protein, 7g carbs, 1g protein)

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Oi Sobagi (Cucumber Kimchi)

Sunday, August 2, 2015 0 comments

I've been harvesting about 6 pounds of cucumber every week.  That has lead to four different pickle trials, cucumber salads, stir fried cucumber, Tzatziki, and lots of Oi Sobagi.  This recipe can be eaten fresh, but it is perfect lightly fermented.  The cucumber flavor stands out here and balances the kimchi flavors beautifully.

There are some Korean ingredients here that can mostly be replaced with more common ingredients or can be bought in most Asian grocery stores.  The irreplaceable ingredient is Gochugaru, or Korean Red Pepper Flakes.  Gochugaru is somewhat warm (although used in great quantity), has a great smoky, sweet pepper flavor and gives kimchi its vibrant red color.  If you have any interest in cooking Korean, a bag is well worth the purchase.  Doeanjang is Korean soybean paste and can be replace with miso.  Daikon is a suitable replacement for the Korean Radish, as is carrot.  Carrots would be great here, but my wife isn't a fan.

Oi Sobagi

2 lbs pickling cucumbers
6 cups water
1/2 cup sea salt

Kimchi Paste:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 cup chives, cut in in 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup korean radish, daikon or carrot, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
4 green onions, halved and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 sheets nori
1/3 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tbs doenjang or miso
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
1 dried shiitake mushroom soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water

If the cucumbers are fresh, trim a 1/16th inch off of the blossom end of each cucumber.  Stand each cucumber lengthwise and slice it in half, leaving the bottom half inch unsliced.  Turn the cucumber and slice the halves, leaving the bottom half inch unsliced.  The result should look like this.  Bring the water and salt to a boil and pour over the cucumbers.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

 Meanwhile, make the kimchi paste.  Cut the vegetables into thin matchsticks, about 2 inches long.   Slice the green onions into halves or quarters, depending on their size, including the tops.  For the nori, moisten with water and fold a couple of times so you can make approximately 1/4" x 2" slices.  Separate the slices as best you can. Combine all the kimchi paste ingredients and mix with your hand... you may want to use a latex glove until well combined.  Add the soaking water from the shiitake and discard the mushroom.  You may also just use water.

After 30 minutes, drain the cucumbers and rinse them in cold water a couple of times.  Carefully spread the quarters of each cucumber and coat with paste and vegetables.  Rub the outside of the cucumber as well.  Set in a bowl or casserole.  If there is any paste leftover, pour over the top.

If you're serving these fresh, you're done.  Refrigerate them now.  Otherwise, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 24 hours to ferment.  They will develop a slight zing from the fermentation.  Some liquid will wick from the cucumbers that you can swish over the batch before serving.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

6 servings:  67 cal (0g fat, 14g carbs, 5g protein)

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This actually started as out as a rescue meal at my monther-in-law's very rural home.  I had a jar of tomatoes, a can of olives, a head of cabbage and some soy curls.  We were hungry, probably not sober and dinner tasted so good.  When we got home, I played with the ingredients a little, balanced the sauce and it's become a staple.  I love that it's not dominated by too much pasta or a heavy sauce.  It's a perfect summer meal.  I usually double the sauce, make it ahead of time and freeze half.

Penne with Cabbage & Sun Dried Tomatoes  
8 oz penne pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 oz soy curls, rehydrated, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced

2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
15 oz diced tomatoes, including liquid
4 oz jar sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained & diced (1/2 cup)
1 tbs miso
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 lemon, juiced

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic for a few seconds, until fragrant.  Add the the wine and let it mostly cook off.  Add the diced tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the diced tomatoes start to break up and the sauce thickens slightly.  Stir in the miso, thyme and lemon juice.  You can set aside the sauce off the stove, if necessary, or make it ahead of time.

Prepare the cabbage, onion, olive and soy curls.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook for 8-10 minutes.  While the pasta is cooking, add oil to the pan.  Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften.  Add the cabbage, in handfuls until the cabbage is fully cooked.  It should be done close to the time that the pasta is done.  Combine the sauce, cabbage, soy curls and olives.  Cook until all ingredients are hot, only a minute or two.

5 Servings:  457 calories (20g fat, 53g carbs, 17g protein)

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