New Jersey is one state where you find large Indian population. In some towns it almost feels like Americans are in minority there. Most of the apartment complexes are filled with Indians and streets are filled with Indian stores, restaurants, beauty parlors, these towns look like mini Indias.
But the town we live in has a majority of Koreans. Most of the stores are run by Koreans and stores have a lot of Korean vegetables and ingredients. Being around so many Koreans, I have always wanted to try Kimchi. It is a tradional fermented side dish made of vegetables and variety of seasoning. It tastes spicy and sour. Kimchi is Korea’s national dish and is used to make other dishes like kimchi fried rice, kimchi pancakes, kimchi stew etc.
Our local Korean store has a whole Kimchi section. It’s around the corner where fresh seafood is sold, so I never actually saw this side of the store in detail. When I decided to make kimchi and went to the store to get the ingredients, I took a few pictures to share with you guys.
Store bought Kimchi usually has some fish sauce in it. So I made my own using this recipe from Vegetarian times that I bookmarked quite a while back. There is no cooking involved and it is very similar to making Indian pickle. This recipe makes a milder tasting kimchi.
Quantity of salt is quite a bit and I was initially worried if it going to taste too salty. In fact when I tasted the cabbage the next day, it was unpalatable. But after adding all the ingredients and fermenting it for 2~3 days, it mellowed out the saltiness. My 17month old loved the crunchy radishes and has been munching on them quite a bit.
Kimchi with Ginger & Chiles
- 1 small head Napa Cabbage - cut into ½" pieces
- ½ cup Sea Salt Kosher or Coarse
- 1 Daikon Radish - medium, julienned
- 6 ~ 10 chilies Dry red
- 6 , 1 Green Onions " - cut into pieces
- 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar Unseasoned
- 2 tsps Ginger - grated
- 2 cloves Garlic - minced
- 1 tsp Sugar
- In a large non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic are best), combine salt and 2½cups of water. Add the chopped cabbage. Mix well to coat all the leaves. Set aside for 5 hours or overnight. Then drain the water.
- Grind chiles into a coarse powder.
- Transfer the cabbage to a clean bowl, add 1½tbsp chiles, radish, green onions, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and sugar. Mix well to combine.
- Transfer to a clean 1 quart canning container (I used 2 smaller glass containers) and pack it down tightly. Seal with lid. Set aside for 2~3 days, turning upside down once in a while to coat the cabbage with pickling liquids. Then store it in the fridge and use as needed.