I discovered Kim Chi at Korea House in Austin, Texas September 2006. It was an odd experience. I had never been to a Korean restaurant before. I ordered something I never tried before: beef bulgogi and in an instant I had a server coming out with a push cart putting 12 small bowls all containing different side items such as pickled cucumbers, sweet beans, pickled carrots, bean sprouts, and the new object of my interest: Kim Chi.
Kim Chi and I have a love/why-did-I-eat-that-bite relationship. I have never met a Kim Chi I didn’t like, and at the same time I never met a Kim Chi that I could eat alone without rice to back up that oh so spicy flavor.
Kim Chi is basically spicy pickled cabbage. Its made by fermenting the chopped up cabbage with various spices. My friend Cho said her mother used to burry it in the back yard and let it sit for two weeks to ferment in a glass jar.
I searched online and decided to combine some ideas and ended up with this concoction:
Soak 1 pound of cabbage with enough water to cover it and 3 tablespoons of sea salt. I use pink Himalayan salt in most of my cooking. Let it sit in the fridge for a day.
Rinse the salty water off the cabbage.
Add 1 cup warm water
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1+ tablespoon of ground ginger to taste
less than 1 tablespoon of chili powder or red pepper flakes.
You could also had garlic, but I didn’t add it to mine, because it was already had an interesting flavor.
Pack all this in a jar or container and let it sit in the fridge for two more days. We ate some of our freshly made, since we couldn’t wait. I expect it to get spicier the longer it sits.
**update, unfortunately my husband cleaned out the fridge and thought my Kim Chi was “stinky” so he threw it out. Note to self, label your food now that you live with someone.