This delicious korean appetizer was introduced to me recently by an actual korean person. Ever since, I’ve taken every opportunity to have some (when possible)! When half a head of cabbage was wasting away in my fridge, I jump on it, and took up the challenge of making kimchi myself!
Making it was pretty straightforward – there are a million different kimchi recipes out there, so you really can’t go wrong. The main ingredients? Cabbage and chilli powder. I chose a recipe that accommodated the fairly limited asian ingredient availability of Latvia. So we had things like, ginger, garlic, scallops, soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar (because there’s no rice vinegar), lime juice and other ingredients.
Making kimchi is a fairly lengthy process, because you have to so soak the cabbage, and afterward, leave time to ferment. After putting everything together in a jar, this is what I came up with:
It doesn’t look all that appetizing. Either way, I left it to ferment for 5 days. Notes on kimchi: note the liquid level in the jar? About a third of the way up? I get the feeling that it was supposed to be all the way up, so that the cabbage can all ferment and marinate equally. Also, I used a regular head of cabbage, although the recipe called for nappa cabbage (leafier, softer)
So once my kimchi had fermented the appropriate amount of days, I gave it a try!
First of all, it was very crunchy. Like chunks of cabbage tend to be. So next time, I’ll be sure to use the nappa cabbage. The kimchi itself tasted quite good, with a nice little kick to it. Unfortunately, it didn’t taste like any kimchi I had ever had. Remember how I said that it’s hard to go wrong, since the only two main ingredients are cabbage and chilli powder? Well guess what I forgot to put in….that’s right, the chilli powder. So it wasn’t spicy at all. I guess we’ll call it kimchi-a-la-latvian
All in all I’m satisfied with the results. My roommates gave it a try, they called it “interesting”, which is their word for not good, but not necessarily foul tasting. It was a good experiment, so I know what I’ll change the next time around (which will be soon, because the jar is rapidly emptying!)