Summer is nearly finished here in Australia.
The hot sizzling heat is starting to be bearable (to me anyway) and it will keep lower down until March getting ready for Autumn.
With the heat still lingering, I took the opportunity to pickle some vegetables for the rainy day.
I made Kimchi because of the main ingredients, napa cabbage or wombok. This vegetable is so versatile to make many dishes in Asian Cuisine. This is my first time and the result was great!
A bit of history behind pickling and the main ingredients. Pickling has a long history and is practised in many cultures around the world. It is difficult to attribute it to a single heritage.
However, pickling has been used for centuries in many different countries and cultures as a way to preserve food, particularly during times when fresh produce was not available or to prevent spoilage.
Pickling is a technique that has been used across many cultures, and each culture has its unique ways of pickling and flavouring foods. It is an important part of Korean cuisine and is used to make kimchi, which is a spicy pickled cabbage dish.
In India, pickling is used to preserve a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as mango, lime, and chillies.
In Chinese culture with pickling mustard and bitter vegetable. It is also popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, where ingredients like olives, cucumbers, and turnips are often pickled.
In the United States, pickles made from cucumbers are a popular snack and side dish. While not forgetting the European pickling such as sauerkraut, chillies, capsicum, cucumber, etc.
From China, wombok spread to other parts of Asia, including Korea and Japan, where it became a staple ingredient in their cuisines. Today, wombok is grown in many parts of the world, including the United States, Canada, and Australia.
In Australian cuisine, wombok is a common ingredient in stir-fries, salads, and soups.
It is also used to make kimchi, a spicy fermented vegetable dish that is popular in Korean cuisine. In Chinese cuisine, wombok is often used to make dumplings and hot pot dishes.
In Japanese cuisine, wombok is used to make pickles and salads and is often served in hot pot dishes as well.
Let’s get cracking.
- 1 Napa cabbage approximately 4.5 kgs*
- Salt – generous amount
- ¼ cup Julienned carrot
- 2 cups Julienned white radish
- 3 cups of water
- ½ cup sweet rice flour or glutinous flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup fish sauce
- 1 tbs salty squid or cincalok
- 1 cup garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbs grated ginger
- 1 cup onion
- 1/4 cup Korean chilli pepper flakes (gochugaru)
- 4-6 spring onions, thinly sliced
- Cut the Napa cabbage into quarters lengthwise and remove the core. Cut each quarter crosswise into bite-size pieces
- In a large bowl, mix the cabbage with the salt until it is well coated. Soak in the cold water and every 30 minutes turn the cabbage over so it salts evenly. Let it sit for 1 ½ hours.
- Rinse the cabbage thoroughly under running water and drain it well. Squeeze out any excess water.
- Put 3 cups of water and ½ cup of glutinous rice flour.
- I have this in my pantry instead of sweet potato flour. I wonder if corn flour can also be used instead as I use it for another pickling. I will try next time.
- Bring it to a boil. Keep stirring until it makes a bubble then add the sugar until translucent
- Cool it down.
Make kimchi paste:
- Put the cold porridge into a large bowl. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli pepper flakes, fish sauce and onion to make a paste.
- Add julienned radish, julienned carrot, and spring onion.
- Mix all ingredients well.
- In a large basin, add the kimchi paste to the cabbage and mix thoroughly, making sure every piece of cabbage is coated. If you don’t have a large basin, mix it bit by bit.
- Pack the kimchi into an airtight glass jar* or plastic container, pressing down firmly to remove any air pockets. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace.
- Let the kimchi ferment at room temperature for 1-2 days, then transfer it to the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process. You can eat it right away, but it will be more flavourful if you let it ferment for a few days.
Kimchi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator. It can be stored for several weeks to several months, depending on your preference for sourness. If the kimchi becomes too sour, it can be used as a cooking ingredient in stews, fried rice, or other dishes.
Separate the kimchi so a small container for frequent use while the remaining large batch can be used for a refill. The reason for this is to have less exposure to the air for a longer shelf-life.
I made Udon noodle soup with home-made kimchi… slurp.. nom nom nom
I used Kilner fermentation set with the weight stone and airlock for this pickling.
Until the next pi
ckling time, enjoy your kimchi.