Chang’s got a crazy-easy recipe for kim chee contained within this tome, and he made it seem so… accessible. Like even I couldn’t screw it up. It’s a two day process, but really not all that time-consuming.
Start out with a big ass head of napa cabbage. They’re $.50/lb or less at the asian grocery stores in Albany. This particular head was exactly four pounds. Yes, I tared the bowl.
Chang’s recipe says to cut the quarters of napa into 2″ sections. That’s the size you get (or larger) in kim chee you can buy in stores. I don’t like those size leaves – too big and difficult to cram in my mouth (I know, hard to believe).
I sliced these into 1″ sections instead. I’m so badass!
Then you throw them in a bowl and dump a TON of kosher salt and granulated sugar on them. I’m serious. It’s a lot of both. Cover it with saran wrap and let it hang out in your fridge overnight.
Wow, that really shrunk overnight, hunh? There’s a lot of water at the bottom of that bowl, so you want to drain out as much as you can, but there’s no need to go crazy with it.
Then I busted out my handy dandy mandoline to matchstick-ify some carrots (please, like I have the dexterity to even think of trying that with a knife), and roughly sliced up some scallions. Just one bunch of scallions is fine.
Next, we prepare our chili paste in a blender. About a cup of chili flakes, 3/4 cup soy sauce. 5 T fish sauce. About a dozen dried shrimp (I think that dried scallops would also make a great dried fish ingredient). Close to a whole head of garlic, 2-3″ of ginger (peeled), some sugar syrup, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. Any who, whir that into a paste.
Mix, mix, mix. Work it girl – you really wanna work that hot & spicy paste into every bit of your veggies. I think that some daikon probably wouldn’t have been a bad addition to the napa cabbage with salt & sugar the night before now, come to think of it.
Let it sit in the back of your fridge for at least a week before you even think of trying it.
The kim chee wasn’t that fermented after a week, but had a good kick to it and was quite velvety. Sweeter than I’m used to, that’s for sure. I’ll give it another try in a week and see how it’s fermented, but it’s definitely tasty stuff.