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Old 12-29-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
Janet Rosen
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Kimchee

Krystal asked me about kimchee and I decided it made more sense to answer publicly than in a private message.
It's the product of fermentation via lactic acid producing bacteria, like sauerkraut or yogurt. In the case of sauerkraut, kimchee and similar vegetable ferments, the process of pickling is used.
Pickling just means low acidity. Modern industrial pickling (and home canning) is not a fermentation process involving living food. It simply packs stuff in enough vinegar to make them acidic, then sterilizes the whole thing, killing any and all bacteria, mold, yeast.
Traditional pickling is based on salt, either dry salting or the use of brine (salt water solution). The salt creates an environment that fosters specific lactic acid bacteria, whose action on the vegetables creates acid. As the process proceeds, and the environment becomes more sour, different lactic acid bacterias become favored.
The very cool thing is that this process does not allow the growth of other, harmful bacteria.
The other very cool thing is that it preserves the vitamin C in cabbage and actually increases the B vitamins.
Best reference is Sandor Katz's The Art of Fermentation. A somewhat more westernized version in terms of persnickitiness about food safety and overuse of wet brine during the fermentation process itself but a good recipe source is The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Kimchee

Janet, you have once again broached a topic near and dear to me.

Please do not read further if you have a delicate digestive system (although, anyone who loves kimchee, by nature must have a cast-iron constitution).

In the back of my refrigerator is a 2-gallon jar of kimchee that has been a-moulderin' there for several years. Last week, I scraped off the mold that had formed a thin blanket over the top layer, and found that the rest of the batch was exquisite. I am deliberating whether to mix in a little more anchovy paste...

My point being that, along with its many other virtues, kimchee keeps for a long time. I recall reading that Korean families will bury earthern pots in their yards and dig them up one at a time, over a period of years, replacing the removed pot with a fresh one to keep the kimchee comin'.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:51 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

Yep. With most live ferments, any superficial mold or yeast can be safely taken off and the rest of the food is yummy. As with mold on cheese.

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Old 12-30-2012, 09:42 AM   #4
Krystal Locke
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Re: Kimchee

Ok, I get the process, does anyone have a recipe they like for a medium hot, flavorful but not too challenging for a kimchee noob batch? The gf loves kraut. I think kimchee would be nice for her.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:49 AM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

This is my basic recipe
BASIC VEGAN KIM CHEE

For each large head of Napa/Chinese cabbage:

1. BRINE
Add 4 tb pickling or sea salt to 8 cups room temperature water
Mix, let stand until clear (about 20 minutes)
Wash and core cabbage; cut into 2" pieces
Place in large nonreactive container, pour the brine over, weight it and let it sit at room temperature for 6 to 15 hours (recipe says 12 hours; I go up or down dependingn on what is convenient if you are doing it during the day or overnight)

2. SPICE MIX:
In a nonreactive container, large enough to toss the cabbage in, mix
3 scallions, slivered lengthwise, chopped into 2-3" pieces
1-2 diced cloves of garlic
1-2 tb minced or grated fresh garlic
1 tsp salt
1 - 2 tb hot red pepper powder
+ enough toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar to form a paste
OPTIONAL: 1 tb mirin, 1/2 cup julienned carrots or daikon, zest of lime or lemon, 1/2 peeled and diced lime, lemon, orange or tangerine

3. PUTTING UP TO FERMENT:
Have a large clean wide mouthed jar or some smaller clean jars
Squeeze excess brine from the cabbage
Add the paste to the cabbage and hand rub/toss so the pieces are well coated (I wear disposable gloves to keep the chile oil from getting onto my hands)
Stuff the cabbage mix into the jar(s), pushing and tamping down very well to avoid air pockets
Cover the jars loosely - don’t seal
Put the jars where they can stay under 70 degrees; I find 60 - 68 is optimal

4. FINISHING
After 3-4 days, taste, and if you like it, cap and refrigerate. It will continue to very slowly ferment in the fridge. It will last in the fridge for months. If it gets too sour to enjoy eating, it is perfect for hot and sour soup.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: my personal, nontraditional spice preference is equal parts crushed Aleppo red pepper flakes (hot and flavorful, not killer hot) and smoked paprika because I love the smokiness from the paprika - making a vegan version is provides the umami that oysters, fish or fermented fish sauce would provide in a non-vegan version.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:38 AM   #6
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Kimchee

For a non-vegan version you can add a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce, or anchovy paste stirred into a Tbsp of sesame oil or rice-sesame oil so it can be distributed evenly into the other ingredients..
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:56 PM   #7
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Kimchee

Awesome. Janet - I so look forward to tasting some of your femented cabbage some day. We should get together and make some cider and kimchee ...

The cider I made from apples we mangled and pressed at a local farm was delish and is gone, but I am sipping a porter I made a few weeks back.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:33 PM   #8
James Sawers
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Re: Kimchee

A different perspective: I think kimchee is just awful (but, I just don't see the attraction to any pickled product, actually - sorry).........I was stationed in Korea for 14 1/2 months. This was when Korea was a third world country, not like now. The whole country and the people smelled of kimchee. It was such a staple part of their diet that it came out of their pores, but you get used to it. But, it did make me wonder what us GIs smelled like, with our penchant for meat and potatoes (excluding C rations).......I still wonder about this? You can usually smell smokers, for instance, even when not smoking, and excluding the smell from their clothes.

People's diet must play a role in how they smell, especially to outsiders........Thoughts?

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Old 01-13-2013, 08:44 PM   #9
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
James Sawers wrote: View Post
A different perspective: I think kimchee is just awful (but, I just don't see the attraction to any pickled product, actually - sorry).........I was stationed in Korea for 14 1/2 months. This was when Korea was a third world country, not like now. The whole country and the people smelled of kimchee. It was such a staple part of their diet that it came out of their pores, but you get used to it. But, it did make me wonder what us GIs smelled like, with our penchant for meat and potatoes (excluding C rations).......I still wonder about this? You can usually smell smokers, for instance, even when not smoking, and excluding the smell from their clothes.

People's diet must play a role in how they smell, especially to outsiders........Thoughts?
I recall reading that in the 1600s, the Japanese found Portuguese sailors to be the stinkiest beings imaginable, exuding from every pore the stench of the rancid butter that was a staple on their long, pre-refrigeration sea voyages.

By contrast, I find garlicky kimchee to be a far pleasanter "stink" than rancid butter (an aroma I first encountered in Nepal, in the form of rancid yak butter used by Tibetan traders to flavor their tea... :P )
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:11 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote: View Post
Awesome. Janet - I so look forward to tasting some of your femented cabbage some day. We should get together and make some cider and kimchee ...

The cider I made from apples we mangled and pressed at a local farm was delish and is gone, but I am sipping a porter I made a few weeks back.
Your cider and ales/beers and my kimchee, kraut and mead! A long overdue meeting.....

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 01-13-2013 at 10:14 PM.

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Old 01-13-2013, 10:14 PM   #11
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
James Sawers wrote: View Post
People's diet must play a role in how they smell, especially to outsiders........Thoughts?
I don't have a source, but have read over the years in various places that in some of the traditional Asian cultures where meat was basically a condiment added to rice and veg, when introduced to the more carnivorous Europeans the b.o. was quite apparent.

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:25 PM   #12
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Kimchee

Janet,
Thanks for the recipe. Made some in February and have slowly been using it in eggs and sandwiches. Tonight was kimchi pancakes with home made Korean influenced sausage...Really amazing.

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Old 05-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #13
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
Janet,
Thanks for the recipe. Made some in February and have slowly been using it in eggs and sandwiches. Tonight was kimchi pancakes with home made Korean influenced sausage...Really amazing.
Thank YOU for the feedback!!!! When and if it gets too sour for other dishes, the kimchee + its juice is an awesome base for hot and sour soup.

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Old 05-11-2013, 05:21 PM   #14
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Re: Kimchee

I've yet to try kimchee Janet, but I've heard that it is tasty. My problem is the basic cabbage idea, I think.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:39 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
John Powell wrote: View Post
I've yet to try kimchee Janet, but I've heard that it is tasty. My problem is the basic cabbage idea, I think.
LOL! The Napa cabbage is a bit more digestible than green cabbage, and actually the fermentation should make it a little more digestible yet (probiotics and all).....

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Old 05-13-2013, 03:08 PM   #16
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Kimchee

Cool! have been wanting to try this since listening to a couple of interviews with Michael Pollan about his new book.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:01 AM   #17
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Kimchee

Janet, what do you mean when you say to 'weight' the cabbage?
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:19 AM   #18
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
Janet, what do you mean when you say to 'weight' the cabbage?
It needs to be weighted down to keep it submerged in the brine. I do the brining in a container large enough to hold the cabbage and enough brine to just cover it, wide enough that I can then stack dessert or salad plates and bowls on top of the cabbage to keep the cabbage covered by the liquid. Note that during the hours of brining, a lot of the water within the cabbage will be leaving the cabbage, so you end up with reduced volume of wilted, salty cabbage and a lot more fluid in your container - so plan accordingly when selecting bowl size to avoid overflow.

This is DIFFERENT from weighting when making sauerkraut or dill pickles, where airtightness is also a factor. For this initial brine, nothing wrong with leaving everything unlidded and open to the air.

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Old 05-14-2013, 08:05 AM   #19
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
I recall reading that Korean families will bury earthern pots in their yards and dig them up one at a time, over a period of years, replacing the removed pot with a fresh one to keep the kimchee comin'.
Now we just put it into the kimchee refrigerator. It lasts even for 6 months.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:12 PM   #20
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Kimchee

Threw in a serrano, a shallot, some garlic, some turmeric and cumin... not standard, but sure smells good! Excited to see how it turns out.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:55 PM   #21
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kimchee

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
Threw in a serrano, a shallot, some garlic, some turmeric and cumin... not standard, but sure smells good! Excited to see how it turns out.
COOL!

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