Saturday, October 31, 2009


I have to admit that I don't know very much about Korean cuisine. However, in all my hippie-dippy macrobiotic, etc., reading, I've become well aware of the supposedly amazing health benefits of kimchi. There's the anti-oxidant power of lots of garlic, and I believe ginger and chili peppers are anti-inflammatory? Plus, there's a great deal of vitamin C in carrots and cabbage. Then there's the dubious fermented magic--like miso, kimchi may introduce friendly little beasts into your intestines to aid you in digestion! This might be especially beneficial to vegans, who can't eat yogurt (unless you're eating soy yogurt, which is a] gross and b] not particularly vegan). Of course, this is all colloquial psuedo-nutrition, so take it with a grain of salt (or a pinch of gomasio?).

Anyway, if nothing else, it's a good way to get more vegetables into your diet. Oh, and it's really tasty.

The following recipe is from The Asian Vegan Kitchen, which is a great cookbook: rather than veganizing traditional dishes, it only includes dishes that are vegan anyway (besides substituting oil for ghee). It appeals to ethnic-cuisine dillettantes in that it's really nine cookbooks in one--it's organized into sections for India, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Korea, so it has an incredibly wide variety of recipes.

I used regular cabbage and radishes rather than bok choy, etc. It looks very different than most kimchi I've seen (it's not red!).

Cabbage Radish Kimchi
(adapted from The Asian Vegan Kitchen)

1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced and then chopped
5-10 radishes, very thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, julienned
1 c scallions (green part) or chives, cut into 1-in pieces
1 TB salt
4 c water
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TB minced ginger
1-2 TB minced chili peppers
1 TB water

1. Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add salt to water and pour it over the vegetables. Place a plate and a heavy weight over the vegetables (or just use a big stack of plates). The vegetables should be completey immersed. Let them stand for 4-5 hours.
2. Drain vegetables and discard water. Rinse and drain, squeeze dry.
3. Mix together garlic-chili paste ingredients. Add to vegetables and toss until evenly coated.
4. Place vegetables in large, sterile jars. Place in fridge or leave on counter. Fills 2 large jars.

I think since kimchi was traditionally buried in the ground, it's not at all cheating to put it in the fridge. But, if you leave it out, it will do its thing more quickly. It tastes pretty good after just a few days, but it's even better weeks (or even two months!) later. I don't know--I'm new at this thing...and there are a lot of possibilities!


myer nore said...

my aunt jenni's a chef. one christmas break at my grandma's i remember coming downstairs in the middle of the night and finding her there. she made me try some kimchi on these little crackers, and i loved it! i've always wanted to make some, but have never tried. i'll have to check out this recipe. thanks!

janet @ the taste space said...

When I become brave enough to try sauerkraut again, I'll definitely try your recipe, Julia! :)