Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hawaii Style Kim Chi (Kim Chee)

For this batch I used:
about 7 pounds of won bok (napa cabbage)
1/3 cup Hawaiian salt with 1 cup water
4 teaspoons ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup red pepper flakes (Asian kind)
Lots of garlic
1 tablespoon Patis

First, I always take off a few of the outside leaves and wash them individually. This is because it is usually the dirtiest part of the cabbage. Sometimes there is a good amount of dirt and if there are bugs hiding you'll usually find them between the first outer leaves. In Korea, they often pickle the entire cabbage whole and chop it up when its ready for serving. I wouldn't do that here because of all the bugs we tend to find hiding in our produce.

Once I've washed the outer leaves I just go ahead and chop the rest of the cabbage... pretty straight forward...

Then I mix Hawaiian salt (sea salt) with water. Here I used 1/3 cup salt with 1 cup water. Its ok if it doesn't dissolve completely.

I stuffed all of the cabbage in a 2 gallon ziploc bag and poured in the brine. Some people will use a pot and place a plate with a weight on top. I find the bag much more convenient.

Squeeze out the air and let it soak for about a day. If it's not a hot day you can leave it at room temperature, although I tend to refrigerate it. Periodically you have to flip the bag to evenly distribute the brine and squeeze out air as the cabbage shrinks. It shrinks a lot! After about half a day, it is about 1/3 or 1/2 the original size.

Here are the flavorings we will be using. Not shown is the sugar.

For those of you who struggle with removing garlic skins, here is a tip.
First cut off the bottom stump of a clove.

Next slice the garlic in half lengthwise.

After that, the skin just slips off easily.

Some skinned cloves ready for mincing.

I like to mince then crush the garlic with a mug.

Here is our salted cabbage. Before adding the spices, drain the brine well by placing cabbage in colander or squeezing the bag. VERY IMPORTANT: taste the cabbage before adding spices to check the saltiness. If it's too salty, rinse with water and drain again. I kind of got the hang of making Kim Chi so I didn't need to rinse this batch.

Here I added 1/2 cup red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce), and4 teaspoons grated or minced ginger root (I love ginger but you can use less).

Mix it up by tossing the bag around (while sealed of course).

Pack into jars and you're done! Let it ferment a few hours at room temp or a few days in the fridge for that "ripe" lactic acid flavor. 7lbs of cabbage made 2 quarts (about 2 liters) of Kim Chi.

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