Growing up at home, much of the food was traditionally asian (well my folks did run a Chinese Restaurant and still do to this day!) So, it was up to me to be inventive and make the kind of food that other kids ate, like Hamburgers, Vegemite & cheese on toast and when our apple trees were in season, Apple Strudel of course! (That’s a story for another day…)
Now my food story is slightly different and I crave their kind of home-style asian food whenever I visit the parentals and spend my time (often) raiding the fridge for my mum’s pickles. She makes these lovely Kimchi Pickles, from a recipe which she adapted when a young Korean student came to stay for a little while.
Traditionally kept in a wooden barrel in the old days and outside in a cool cellar, my mum has a fridge dedicated to preserves (which my dad bought her, for Kimchi and the like.) At Christmas it becomes our designated drinks fridge. However, this Christmas we’ll all be overseas for a family holiday, so I figure I’d better learn how to make them at home and then I can raid my own fridge for pickles… ;)
Not only healthy and extremely good for you, this Kimchi packs a punch of flavour! It’s so versatile in it’s uses, either stir fried with chicken and shallots, used as a soup base for a hot pot with seafood, breakfast with a fried egg and some fluffy rice, or my ultimate favourite as an accompaniment to beef bulgogi as part of a Korean BBQ.
Either way, if you’re a pickle lover and you’ve never tried these, then you don’t know what you’re missing out on! Hopefully, we’ll all soon be making some pickles my mum can be proud of!
Time: Start a day ahead, takes 1 hr to make the preserve and needs a full day to rest before eating, yields 2 medium preserve jars.
1/2 a chinese cabbage (wombok)
Salt, as needed
3x garlic cloves, grated or chopped
1 knob of ginger, grated
2 tbsp of Sugar (plus more to taste)
Fish sauce to taste
2 spring onion stems,
A few tbsp of Chilli powder (works well as a substitute!)
Or use traditional Kimchi chilli powder (if you fancy a trip to the local asian markets,)
You’ll also need a medium mixing bowl, knife, chopping board and a colander/sieve. Ideally two glass preserve jars, a wooden spoon and tongs.
(I find glass jars to be best as the flavour is better and you don’t get that red chilli stain on your nice Tupperware!)
Cut the cabbage into slices or a rough dice. I like the shapes rustic as it gives more variety of texture to the pickle. Wash and drain the cabbage well.
I like to massage the cabbage and salt to mix it well and leave it for 20 mins to a half hour. It will start look a bit wet because of the salt in the cabbage, (you’ll know if there’s enough salt by how much liquid seeps out)
Grate the ginger, garlic and slice the spring onion into slivers during this time. You can go one step further and chop it finely into a rough paste (or use your food processor.)
Rinse the cabbage in a colander or sieve, running it under fresh cold water to rinse off the excess salt.
Shake to dry it out,
In the same mixing bowl from before, mix the cabbage with the garlic, ginger & spring onion.
Add the chilli or Kim Chi Powder, fish sauce and sugar.
Stir well to combine. It’s important to taste as you go. Adjust with a little more sugar or fish sauce (or extra chilli powder) if needed.
*I sprinkled a little extra sugar in to mellow out the heat of the chilli powder.*
Pack the kimchi into airtight jars and place into the fridge, it will be ready to eat the next day and will safely keep for a week.