Help me with my kimchi (kimchee)

Yes, I’m talking about that delicious wonder, cold spicy Korean cabbage salad. Yum.

I know that people make it in enormous quantities, and with elaborate techniques, so I’ve always just happily partaken in what I could get in restaurants. But I recently found a very simple recipe for it: cabbage+salt+time, +ginger+garlic+chiles (in large quantities). It’s much nicer than I ever thought I could make ! (Ask me for elaboration if you’re curious).

But on the Net I keep finding recipes involving layering (v. complicated), various ingredients I’ve never heard of, and radishes, which I can only assume aren’t the little red ones we’re accustomed to. I’ve seen long, fat, white, carrot-like things in a Sri Lankan shop called ‘radishes,’ is that what they’re referring to?

If you can’t offer advice, can you at least reassure me that I’m not some kind of cabbage-eating freak? I feel like kimchee isn’t yet as mainstream as I would like it to be …

Yep, sounds like Daikon radishes. If they’re used in cabbage kimchi, they’re probably shredded, or julienned.

Of course, most people think of cabbage with red pepper spice when they hear the word kimchi, but that’s just one kind. “Kimchi” actually means something like “relish” or “side dish” and there are many varieties. My wife loves temuji, which is daikon radishes that are cut like french fries and pickled in a sweet brine. They taste like gherkin pickles and are not spicy at all.

If the main ingredient in a recipe is not cabbage, it must be a different kind of kimchi. On the other hand, there are variations on the basic style. I’ve seen a recipe with shredded apple in it. And another that called for fish (some small, salty fish, kind of like an anchovy, used in small quantities as seasoning.)

Daikon is a large white raddish, I see it all the time (I’m Japanese but I don’t know if it’s actually a japanese food item).

I don’t like it in my Kimchi.

These days I just buy Kimchi from the local korean store. Simple :smiley:

In Korean, Daikon radish is called moo. Moo-ooo!

Enjoy! I’ve never tried making it myself. (Have you had cucumber kimchi? That’s my favorite!)

Another kimchee addict here. Ambrosia of the gods, that stuff is.

I realize from heresiarch’s description that I have had temuji in restaurants as well. It’s all good.

Here in the Twin Cities, we eat on occation at a Korean restaurant which presents you with eight kinds of kimchee when you eat.

Sweet potatos…cucumber (my favorite), radishes, cabbage (of course)…

(Not a huge kimchee fan - in fact don’t like Korean food. If I didn’t have a Korean kid we’d avoid it. Instead, its bulgogi and kimchee a few times a year - maybe I’ll gain an appreciation for it over time. Now my five year old son loves the stuff - do you think its genetic - my theory is that he got a taste for it invitro).

Bury the stuff, in a crock, in the back yard.
Forget where you buried it.
Be happy in the knowledge, you will not be known in the family, and the neighborhood as “Old Kimchi-Breath”.

Or better yet, someone else’s backyard. Someone you don’t like.

Emmm , so you’re a real traditionalist eh ?

By rights you are meant to bury Kimchee during the time period of Cowgirls cabbage+salt+time formula

Here’s the maalox…

Spicy Pickled cabbage (drool). My dear auntie is Korean, so over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy lots and lots of ethnic Korean food. Aunt Sun-Cha pretty much only makes two varieties of Kimchi - with and without squid. I’m not fond of the ‘squidchi’, but she only makes it around the holidays, IIRC. But I digress. I’ve watched her make kimchi a few times, and your first/simple recipe (cabbage +salt +time, +ginger +garlic +chiles in large quantities) sounds like how she makes it. She uses a chile powder she keeps in the freezer in big ziplock bags, though.

I get the sense that kimchi is kind of like red sauce or curry - every family has their own variations.

Winston Smith,

My understanding is that is very true. That there is no “one” kimchee recipe. That it would be similar to asking an American for a recipe for “Christmas Cookies.” Even the old standbys are made half a dozen different ways - some recipes are very simple, others take days.

Dangerosa, that’s right on the money. Even Aunty’s recipe was dangerously variable. Occassionally, it was too hot for my western tongue. I would offset the heat with copious amounts of beer. And more kimchi. :wink:

The “Old World” recipe, I understand, also prescribes burying the kimchi for an indeterminate amount of time. I presume that would encourage fermentation, or at least a more dramatic exchange of flavor componants, though I don’t recall my aunt ever doing that. Her approach is more or less making a huge batch every few weeks.