(Update 11/17/11: Now that I’ve tinkered around with multiple batches, I’ve come up with my own variation, posted here: Kimchi, Jewish Mother Version)
Thanks to Julia Moskin’s D.I.Y. Cooking Handbook, published by the New York Times, I was inspired to attempt my first batch of kimchi. I’ve been sampling different types, reading various recipes, and watching videos on YouTube for about a year now, but hadn’t found a version that used materials I already had in hand. The D.I.Y. version, which seems to come from Tart and Sweet by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler, looked closest to my very favorite commercial kimchi from Midori Farm, made a relatively small amount, and it calls for fermentation in jars, not special crocks.
We stopped by HMart in Federal Way last week to pick up some gochugaru, sea salt, napa, and a nice daikon, which we combined with shallots and garlic from our own garden, and fish sauce, tamari, and carrots from our pantry and fridge at home. A & M were very excited about this, and helped to slice and brine the cabbage. They insisted that I use only 1 cup of chili powder, because they’re still coming to terms with mouth-burning spices. If this is a hit, we’ll be mixing up more of this “kidchi” for them to enjoy.
We’ll taste this first batch on Tuesday and see what we think. I think next time I’ll add a grated apple or pear for just a bit of sweetness, based on the taste I snuck of the fresh kimchi. Even if this isn’t quite the same as Midori Farm’s amazing kimchi, but I think this will be at least at tasty as the other brands available in our local stores. I will be so happy if this works!