Kimchi?

BarbJ
Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 16 weeks ago.

Because of the delicious Buchimgae recipe that Maki posted on the home page, I've become intrigued by Kimchi.
I had no kimchi so I made the recipe with rinsed sauerkraut mixed with hot chili paste and they were really good.
But I'm hoping some folks here could give me some advice about buying kimchi. Are there different kinds, favorite brands and why? Best way to buy it and store it? Etc.

It's funny, I have a few Korean friends and many Korean neighbors, but have never tried it. I guess the smell has put me off, but my goodness, sauerkraut smell awful and I love it, so I guess I should get over that! LOL!

So give me the low down on kimchi, please!

____________________________________

BarbJ
http://barbsblab.blogspot.com/

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mosaica
Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 33 weeks ago.
Re: Kimchi?

Hello Barb :-)

I live in the hinterlands and can't generally buy kimchi unless I travel a few hours down to Boston, so I've started making my own kimchi, which is really easy, so if you're ever in the mood to spend a hour making your own, I'd be glad to share a recipe.

If you can visit a nearby Asian market, even more preferably one which caters to a Korean community, look in the refrigerated section for `napa kimchi' or `Baechu Kimchi'. My favorite Korean markets each make their own kimchi, and there will generally be various types: scallion kimchi, daikon cube kimchi, etc. The basic kimchi (i.e., made with napa cabbage) is the one most folks seem to use for making buchim (pancakes) and my favorite comfort soup --kimchi soup with pork, which is also incredilby simple to make (and GREAT when you have a cold). You can also ask the store clerk for help --let them know you want a basic kimchi for making pancakes (buchim) and they'll be happy to help.

One thing that's nice to know: Kimchi, being a fermented live food, changes character over time. So, you'll buy a jar or plastic tub of kimchi and it'll be great as a side or pickle-type dish. After a few weeks, it will get more and more sour, and it is at that point that kimchi is really glorious for pancakes and soup and other cooked preparations. Like you said, it can smell very, er, strong ;-) --but it really tastes great. Also, if you have lots of juices in your jar of well-ripened kimchi, they're great added as part of the pancake batter, and wonderful added to soup, etc.

I make my kimchi at home from Napa cabbage when I can get a nice head or two, and also from plain-jane white or green cabbage too.

Good luck, and let me know if you'd like the recipe posted!

____________________________________

http://mosaica.wordpress.com

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 4 weeks ago.
Re: Kimchi?

Kimchi is a favourite staple food for us. Unfortunately, both our current home and refigerator are both very small, so we don't make our own kimchi. That's something I'd love to try when I get more space. However, ready made kimchi can be found in the chiller cabinets of many shops with East Asian/Korean clients.
Unless you're lucky enough to have a Korean store that sells locally made kimchi in their deli section (In London, Centre Point Food Store, WC2H 8LN, sells various kinds) it's usually found in sealed plastic bags (like this http://mayakirana.com/blog/images/kimchi3_resize.jpg ).
Occasionally it can be found in jars (like this http://images-cdn01.associatedcontent.com/image/A2822/282237/300_282237.... ) I find that Japanese stores in particular sell kimchi in jars.
I find kimchi varies a great deal in taste and there are many brands I don't much care for.
If at all possible, try and find kimchi that is made and packaged in Korea, rather than a neighbouring country. I've found that Korean made kimchi is consistently delicious with a full, rounded and very satisfying taste. (Other kinds can be a bit... thin. It's tricky to describe)
This brand: http://www.orientalmart.co.uk/images//products_lrg/kimchi4.jpg is our current favourite. The one we use looks exactly the same but says Pungsan Mat Kimchi, rather than Pungsan Nonghyup Kimchi, but I'm sure the one in the photo is just as good.
The kimchi needs to be stored in the fridge to stop it from fermenting further. Inside the packets you often find little packets of crystals. Whatever you do DON'T eat or open them, they're there to keep the kimchi as fresh as possible.

I'm not sure how long kimchi lasts in the fridge as we generally eat ours within a week (more often it never lasts more than a day or two - we just can't stop ourselves!). EDIT - I didn't see mosaica's response until after I posted this one, much better advice about how long kimchi lasts in that reply.

But kimchi is a very special food and good kimchi is (to my mind) quite extraordinary. Do please ask your Korean friends and neighbours for their recommendations. With any luck, they will have uncovered a quality local source. If you're REALLY lucky, they may have some home made kimchi, or kimchi brought from Korea you can try.

I hope you end up loving kimchi as much as we do!

Here's a website I've found with more information on and recipes for this superfood.
http://www.kimchi.or.kr/eng/

BarbJ
Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 16 weeks ago.
Re: Kimchi?

Sorry about the late reply! Thanks both of you for all the info! I'll have to snoop around the Asian grocery and check out those brands.

And yes, please do post that recipe! If you have already, could you make a link? We have napa cabbage at every grocery store all the time.

mosaica
Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 33 weeks ago.
Re: Kimchi?

Hello Barb :-)

I will post my own recipe, which is a good basic not-fancy version within a day or so. Super busy with seedlings & friends & garlic! In the meantime, this is a lovely recipe which I intend to try soon, and I thought you might enjoy it. It uses wedges rather than the roughly chopped cabbage I use, and it makes for nice presentation as well as tastiness. The ingredients all look in order from my kimchi making experiences.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Traditional-Napa-Cabbage-Ki...

Cheers!

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