Earlier this year, I made a little ‘resolution’ or rather, a change for the blog. I wanted to do more cooking and more cake decorating tutorials / videos. Well, I have some cake decorating stuffs taken down but I just havent had the time to do any editing on the videos at all. I think I’m doing alright in the ‘cooking’ side. As much as I wanna start a new ‘year’ cooking project, I have to put it on hold as I will be starting a new job soon. Rather, a new job, old place. Hahaha. Well, I usually don’t ‘expose’ where I work during the day. So you can keep guessing 🙂 If the new job permits my time for the ‘Project cookbook” I will start it.. but till then, we’ll see … we’ll see…
So I’m doing a tiny bit more adventurous cooking, of different ethnicity, or perhaps different cuisines. I have started a little with Indian cooking and some Korean. I’ve been very interested in Korean food and cooking these days; especially after my little trip to Seoul last year. I’ve also made an effort to do a little once every, or two months to do a little cooking (we call it Cook&Eat) together, just like olden days masak-masak, (only difference is it’s with real food) with my friends.
*Some ingredients for the cooking session *Except for the madeleine pan*
I feel that sometimes with cooking, I want to do alot at one go, say if it’s Korean, I want to do the whole kimchi, jigae, pajeon, mandu and banchan thingy. I won’t go thru the hassle of making just 500g of kimchi, I’d rather make it a 2kg napa cabbage kimchi, then make a variety of food to be shared amongst. Some of my friends are rather interested in Korean food as well, so why not ask them over, and just cook together..
The first Cook&Eat, is Korean! (Would you believe that we’ve already thought of our 2nd theme?? hehe ) So in my menu list were actually Kimchi, Kimchi Jigae, Mandu, Myulchi Bokkeum, Pajeon, Korean Fried Chicken and Ttaebokki. We skipped the latter as there were kinda too much food anyway..I wanted to make an effort to make my own kimchi. (Oh well trust me you would want to make your own as well after knowing how easy it is). I went to Maangchi‘s site, and got most of the recipes from there. So if you need Korean cooking recipes (that comes with video), I think hers is a good place to go. This one is called easy kimchi cause you dont need to ferment the whole cabbage. It’s faster to use cut pieces of cabbage than a whole quarter of it.
I went to some specialty Korean groceries to get authentic ingredients just so they would taste alike, especially with the hot pepper paste (gojuchang) and hot pepper flakes. Korean hot pepper flakes (which are crucial in making Kimchi) aren’t the same with our usual chili flakes. (Not cheap either, RM 18-20 for a pack of slightly lesser than 500g.
As u can see they are rather coarse and doesnt have alot of seeds. There are 2 types usually sold in the groceries; one is pepper flakes and another is powder. For kimchi, pepper flakes are more advisable. If you are unsure, you can just ask the store owner or helper. I got my stuffs from Kim’s Korean Grocer in Hartamas and Lotte Mart in 1 Utama and Hartamas as well. They also have mild and spicy type. I didn’t know that actually until I made the kimchi and it turned out to be not so spicy. I’m assuming this is the mild one.
And as you can see (later in the recipe), making kimchi requires a porridge-like batter, which is made from chapssal garu; sweet rice flour. It’s similar to our glutinous rice flour if you can’t find Chapssal Garu. Don’t worry if you have extra, you can use it to make Chapssalddeok; Korean Mochi, with some red bean paste. With the porridge, it actually helps to bind the pepper flakes with the cabbage. So you can say, it’s like a paste.
In Maangchi’s recipe, she used raw squid, and sometimes oysters. Different regions of Korean have different way of making kimchi I suppose, her’s belong to the southern part. I am not that keen to put in raw squids as I have no talents in buying seafood. So I skipped that part. But if anyone wants to catch me some squid (and errr, please clean them too), then I will put it in. Hahaha
So let’s start!
Easy Kimchi (막김치 )
2 kg napa cabbage
1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
20 g sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 1/2 cup hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup crushed garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 cup minced onion
5 spring onion, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
1 korean white radish, julienne
1 carrot, jullienne (I forgot to buy carrots, so I didnt add this in)
Prepare the Cabbage (step 1-2)
- Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. (Please make sure you check if there are any hidden worms or something, as I find that napa cabbages usually have alot of these little morsels) Chop it up into bite size pieces. Soak the pieces of cabbage in cold water to remove impurities, then drain and put the soaked cabbage into a large basin. Sprinkle salt evenly.
- Every 30 minutes, turn the cabbage over to salt evenly (total salting time will be 11/2 hours). 1 and 1/2 hours later, rinse the cabbage in cold water 3 times to clean it thoroughly. Drain the cabbage and set aside.
Prepare the porridge (step 3)
3. Put water and sweet rice flour (chapssal garu/glutinous rice flour) in a pot and mix it well and bring to a boil. Keep stirring until the porridge makes bubbles (about 5 minutes). Add sugar. Stir and cook for a few more mintues until it’s translucent. Cool it down.
Prepare Kimchi paste (step 4-8)
4. Blend ginger, garlic, onion and fish sauce.
5. Place cold porridge in a large bowl and add the garlic and fish sauce paste.
6. Add in hot pepper flakes. Stir well.
7. Add in sliced green onions, leek, radish and carrot (if u are using it)
8. Mix well. *at this point, it smells ridiculously good already
Final step (step 9-10)
9. Wear gloves, yes you need it. Mix the paste with the cabbage, making sure all are coated well. I find using hands are easier, any spoon or spatula won’t work here. If you have are making alot and your basin / bowl is not big enough, you can do batch by batch.
10. Store kimchi in an airtight container. Before closing, press kimchi down to release any trapped air. I lay a sheet of cling wrap and press it down, then cover it. Put in the fridge for at least 1 day.
If you keep well, it can keep for months and months and months!
Note : You can keep in a few small containers to reduce contamination.
To eat, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Kimchi is very versatile. You can use this to make Kimchi Jigae, Kimchi Fried Rice and Kimchi Pajeon as well (which I will update with recipes)
It really does look spicy, but it wasn’t. It was quite mild compared to what we ate in Seoul. I should perhaps add a half a cup more of the pepper flakes or get spicy ones. But apart from the spiciness level, I think I’m pretty happy with this batch of kimchi. No, in fact I was very happy that I tried to make it and it turn out pretty good! I ddint knew it was so easy to make. The most important part is cleaning the cabbage, and getting the right type of hot pepper flakes.
Next up, will be Myulchi Bokkeum (anchovies)..