Every now and then, I find myself making rice bowls. They are truly convenient, and they do get me through my busy schedule. It is important to say that they are also very simple, versatile and delightful. If the kids are in school, I normally take a […]
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Classic Christmas songs, hitting radio stations, malls, and stores… You are definitely feeling the holiday spirit everywhere around here.
Don’t you agree that people are just a bit happier in December, then everyone is back to grumpy selves in January, then back to happy around tax time?! :D
Now let’s talk about Kimchi!
The recipe finally made it on my blog, and the biggest reason is not only ’cause I love kimchi so much, but because I received an overwhelming number of requests in the last few months with the same question: “how do I knowingly make my own kimchi?” – So here it is!
I am also asked a lot, especially in stores when I purchase tofu-how does it, tastes, or can you make your own. I never tried naturally making tofu, but maybe I should do a little research and make my own.
But that will wait for a while until then I will enjoy the store bought. Ok… I was positively off the subject for a bit there, let‘s continue thoughtfully…
What is kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional as well as national fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of ingredients.
It is a staple of every Korean household, therefore it’s an important part of Korean culture.
Kimchi can be eaten as an accompaniment to almost any meal, and it serves as a side dish with every meal.
There are many different variants of kimchi, that’s why I named it in the title “Napa cabbage”, to be specific what kind of kimchi I am presenting today.
This particular one is called “mak baechu kimchi” because it is chopped into bite size pieces for quick fermentation, simpler serving, and easy consumption later.
The most popular and recognizable kimchi out of all varieties is made from napa OR Chinese cabbage (baechu)- however, cucumber, daikon or white radish, scallions kimchi and much more depending on the season are also loved and made by Koreans.
Kimchi can be non-spicy, mild and very spicy depending on how much chili powder you are using.
The taste of fermented kimchi has a pinch of sourness, slight burn in your mouth from the spiciness, prudent smell, and kimchi should have a crunch when you bite it.
NOTE* Napa cabbage is lighter in color than other Chinese cabbages such as Bok Choy, which is also sometimes called Chinese cabbage.
I can’t wait until my kimchi ferment for a few months, so I can make delicious stews such as Kimchi Jjigae,
Budae Jjigae or use it in my Gourmet Ramen Soup, and of course kimchi pancakes, so good! I hope you will try it and please don’t be intimidated, because it is a simple “labor of love” recipe, full of flavor, nutrition and I must add pure deliciousness.
Korean Fermented Napa Cabbage - Baechu Kimchi
- 2 large Chinese Cabbage about 3 lb each (Napa Cabbage) or 3 smaller size
- 1/2 cup salt
- 6 cups water
- 1 small sized Korean white radish Moo or medium Daikon radish.
- 1 large carrot 80g, or two smaller ones *optional
- 3 Green onions chopped
- 4 Oz Chives 100g
- 1 Tbs. Sweet rice flour + 1/2 cup water
- 1 Cupful Red hot pepper powder use less for less spicy or more, or none for white kimchi
- 2 Tbs. Fish Sauce
- 1 Tbs. Oyster Sauce *optional or just use fish sauce
- 1 Tbs. Sugar
- 1/3 cup Salted shrimp brine shrimp
- 1/3 Onion medium
- 1 Asian pear
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbs. Crushed ginger
- Salt to taste if necessary
- Cut the cabbage lengthwise and separate it with your hands. Then cut into quarters, then chop into bite-size pieces. Place in the big bucket and wash few (3-4) times to get it really clean. Prepare salt water, add 1/4 cups of salt with about 6 cups of water. Pour it over the cabbage and start mixing and turning your cabbage every 20-30 minutes for the next 1 1/2 to 2 hrs.
- Make porridge by mixing water with sweet rice powder/flour on a medium temperature. Stir until it becomes a thick and smooth texture. Take it off the stove and set aside to cool down.
- While cabbage Brin and porridge is cooling off, start with the sauce.
- Julienne white radish, a large carrot, chop scallions, chives, scallions, brine shrimp and set aside
- On the other side, roughly chop onion, peel garlic and use whole cloves, slice peeled pear and ginger. Put it in the food processor with sugar, oyster sauce, and (optional if allergic or vegan), add 1/2 cup of water and process until well combined. Add salt only if necessary to taste or more oyster sauce.
- Add Chili powder (gochugaru) in cooled porridge, stir, then pour the sauce (from the step 5.) out of the food processor in the porridge. Stir again very well and mix in with Julienne vegetables. Set aside until ready to be used.
- Once the Cabbage brained for at least hour and a half, wash a few times under cold water, drain really well and dry the bowl/bucket, then place cabbage back to the dry bowl/bucket. Cabbage will have a balance between sweetness and saltiness, it will get a bit softer, but still firm/crunchy enough.
- Now the final step after washing the salt water off. Pour the sauce and other vegetables over the cabbage. Gently mix with your hands, massage it (use gloves).
- Put it into airtight containers, but try to press down the cabbage because of the air.
- Leave it in the room temp for 2-3 days, then place it in the fridge (the best if you use a glass container or a large jar/s)
- After 7 days you will already have bit fermented cabbage and Kimchi juice will start to appear. But I love one after a month or so for salads, 3 months and after it's perfect for stews.
Yes, you can make kimchi without sweet rice porridge. I like to use it because it pulls all the ingredients together. But it is optional. No, you do not have to add any seafood products. If you are able to get it or eat it, I recommended, but it is optional. I like to keep it in the garage and I wrap the container with a plastic bag to eliminate the odor as much as possible. Even though it is sealed completely with the lid, the kimchi smell will escape. Usually, after 3 days, I put it in the fridge. All the products can be purchased online, or at Asian markets. Some ingredients could be found even in local grocery stores. I like TO ADD ABOUT SODIUM LEVEL if you never made kimchi before be careful if you are using salted shrimps and oyster sauce or fish sauce... all three ingredients are salty so please add a little bit at the time and taste. I found this one perfect for me, but we all have different taste buds. If you are not adding any of above, then use SALT to TASTE!
Happy April 1st My favorite month is finally here
I love April so I am sharing one my favorite to go lunches-it’s simple, easy, delicious and so colorful: Kimbap or Gimbap!
I had so much fun yesterday with the kids. It was raining, we stayed indoors but I already had a plan in my head how to make my kids entertained
Trust me if my 10 years old can do it, you can do it too.
Today they went to school proud of themselves because they prepared kimbap and their school lunch
I made Kimbap many times before but always with different filling and they are really versatile. You may use ingredients whatever you or your kids like. They are similar to Japanese Makizushi or Maki Roll (Futomaki-fat roll).
The difference is in rice preparation and any kind of Japanese rolls are usually served with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger (gari). The Kimbap commonly is not.
Kimbap is a Korean traditional Picnic/Finger fast
So let’s get started:
Delicious lunch box-kimbap
- 4 cups cooked sushi rice
- 1 tbs. Rice vinegar
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 tbs. Sesame Oil + for brushing on the rolls
- Dry Seaweed sheets (kim/gim)
- filling options:
- carrots, julienned
- pickled daikon (white radish)
- toasted sesame seeds
- tuna/ham/spam/chicken/beef, it can be any meat, or you can keep it vegetarian
- Put about 4 cups of good quality premium sushi rice in the pot with the water. (wash the rice then cook, put water about a finger thick above the rice which is about less than 1 cm/0.4 inches) Once the rice boils, turn it down, stir, cover and let it simmer to the lowest temp for 10 minutes. Take it off and let it be under the closed lid for 5 more minutes; Fluff the rice and place in a large plastic bowl. If you have a rice cooker then follow the instructions.
- Make your mixing sauce by mixing up salt, vinegar until the liquid looks clear, then add sesame oil. Mix
- rice with the mixing sauce and stir it evenly; Set aside!
- Prepare a large plate to arrange all ingredients for kimbap by slicing it into thin strips-preferably the same size.
- Place on the sushi/kimbap mat dry seaweed then put a bit of rice but do not go all the way from one end to the other-try to keep it from the sides and you can adjust the thickness; again don't go too thick because it will be hard to roll. Click Here for better instruction.
- Put the ingredients on the top side by side that you wish to use and roll it. Brush each uncut roll with sesame oil and cut into bite size rolls, but you can eat them without cutting.
- You can store them in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to two days although they are the best when eaten fresh.
Kkori (kkoli) Gomtang 꼬리곰탕
I mentioned a few posts back that while I was sick I ate a lot of soups and this particular one made it frequently in from of me. I made a huge pot of this soup and ate it in two days, and then made it twice after I recovered;
It was so good that I couldn’t stop eating! At that moment It was just what I needed and to honestly tell you the truth it is way better than any chicken noodle soup, even if I compare it to the homemade.
The best part for me about Korean cuisine besides tastiness is how many dishes are spicy with a special unique aroma and distinguished taste. It just opens up your appetite and you would ask for more. The color of the dishes is always just incredible too. I get attracted to that lovely color and of course taste.
Keep reading to learn more…
Korean table setting or “bansang”
Banchan (반찬 panch-an) is a central fixture of a Korean meal and it refers to the small side dishes where Koreans serve their most traditional delicacies such as red chili pepper paste, soy sauce, kimchi etc.; Soups and Stews are not considered as a part of the bunchan.
Oxtail Soup looks difficult but it’s actually very simple not at all. Even though it takes a long time to cook, it’s totally worth the wait! But you can always use a pressure cooker.
I made Napa(Chinese) Cabbage Kimchi (배추-baechu 김치-kimchi) that you see in the photos. Koreans have many kinds of Kimchi depending on the season and over 200 types, but one made from Napa or Chinese cabbage is the most common one. For some of you that don’t know what Kimchi is …
Well, basically it is a fermented vegetable. The difference between regular Sauerkraut and Napa Cabbage Kimchi is in preparation and spices.
It is very flavorful and if you make it at home you can adjust the heat, too although you have nonspicy kimchi which is called “white kimchi/
I like my food with a lot of heat, so mine was very spicy because I used more Red Chili pepper powder or gochugaru, but it is again optional how much is too much for you.
I bought a jar from my local store and it was mild, almost not as spicy so I decided to get everything and give it a try. Thankfully my first try was a success and I started to make kimchi from that moment on; because not only that it is delicious but it is considered one of the healthiest foods.
Why am I writing about kimchi? Well because Koreans eat kimchi with
almost every meal.
Korean Oxtail Soup 꼬리곰탕
Detailed and pretty easy recipe for amazing Korean Oxtail Soup 꼬리곰탕
- 3 Lb. Oxtail beef
- 1 Onion peeled
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 3 inch Fresh Ginger peeled
- 1 Daikon/large Asian Radish
- 1 Tbs. Whole Peppercorns
- Water to fill the pot
- Scallions-green part
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbs. Red Hot Chili Pepper Paste 고추장-Gochujang
- 2 Tbs. Soy Sauce any kind but try to look for Korean brand/import
- 1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
- 1 Tbs. Toasted Sesame Seeds
- 2 Scallions green part
- 1-2 Chili Pepper sliced
- Salt if needed to taste*
- First wash the oxtail very well under the cold water-then fill the big bowl or pot with water and put oxtail pieces in there for 45-1hr. so the blood can get out.
- Once that process is over, wash the oxtail again. Put it in the large pot, fill with water and boil for 15-20 minutes. Drain it again so you can get rid of unnecessary fat. Drain the water out and wash the oxtail once again, and wash the pot too.
- Second part: Put the oxtail back in the pot and fill with the water, but this time adds a whole peeled onion, whole garlic cloves, ginger, peeled daikon radish, and peppercorns. Cook covered on low heat for next hour and a half (1 1/2hrs) -if you need to add more water you can do so one cup at the time. Also, skim with the spoon broth each time you see the bubbles of fat rising up. That way you will get rid of the unnecessary fats. I found it easier to take the onion, radish, garlic, ginger, and peppercorns out when I drain the broth in the other pot and drop the oxtail back in the broth, but you can try taking everything out individually or just use large tea bags and put smaller ingredients such as garlic, and peppercorns in there so all you need to do just pull it out and since the onion and radish is large that is easy to take out. You will need to pull them out after an hour and half of cooking.
- Third part: Add more water to the broth if needed, cover the pot with the only oxtail and boil on medium heat for the next one hour (1 hr). After an hour take the oxtail out, and separate all the meat from the bones, set all on the side and put the bones back in the pot to cook for one more hour (1hr) on a low heat-simmer, covered. At this time you could add pinch or two of salt but you can do that once it’s served and on the table. Broth needs to be whitish, rich and full of flavor. Bone marrow is making the broth whitish and bit fatty and that is what you want to achieve while making this soup.
- Pull apart the meat that you cooked, it should be very tender. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, and red chili pepper paste; stir it in the meat. For final presentation sprinkle sesame seeds on top as well as green part from scallion and fresh red chilies. On the end I just mixed everything but if you are serving it for other people you can serve everything separably in the little bowls so they can adjust the heat to their own individual taste. I didn’t use any salt but if you need just add a dash or two.
- Serve it with a sprinkle of green onion (green part) with Rice, kimchi, and pull apart flavored beef that is literally melting in your mouth and gives amazing compliments to the broth. Clean your spoons while eating and enjoy!
This soup cooked for well over 3 hrs and you can imagine the flavor. It can be boiled longer and up to 5 hrs.
Once it is cooled down, you might have some leftovers, put it the airtight container and in the fridge- just heat it up on the stove again and eat/or it can be stored for 4-5 days in the fridge and used as a meal flavoring.
I used the first two times beef chuck because I like slowly boiled beef and it does add to the broth flavor a bit. I do recommend for beef lovers to use more meat, but in chunks not as a cut out in cubes beef for stews!
If you do not wish to make kimchi and want to taste it, you can buy it in the Korean, Asian or International markets; they carry usually many different sizes and types. I found my first one in Kroger close to the fruit and veggies sections, it was little jar but It gave me an idea of how it tastes.
If you do not want to pull the meat off the bones, you can serve them in the separate bowls or in the soup, but put on the side another bowl with a paper towel so you can hide what you couldn’t eat or chew.
This soup is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it and I hope that you will too. My final advice is “do not be afraid of the time consuming and the prep or steps in this soup, it is very well worth it and I know that you will not be disappointed.” It’s soothing when you have a cold and it can be great when hangover!:)
Sweet Pumpkin Porridge is one of those perfect comforting foods during cooler weather. Ah, don’t you just love the smell of cooler weather approaching, beautiful Autumn scenery and comfort food? Alright, perhaps we look forward to comforting holiday food more than anything else, but fall […]