Monday, July 19, 2010

Kimchi, Dead Fish, and Dog Butt

Behold, the saltiest meal on the planet! Not only do we have a few brined kimchis, but there is the Japanese curry made from spicy Kokumaro curry roux blocks. (For those who were following the my Japanese curry chronicles, Java Curry is the winner. Vermont Curry was bland, and Kokumaro was a close second.)

We hosted an impromptu kimchi and sour beer dinner gathering last Saturday. Sadly, I don't have any pics or notes from the sour beer tasting, but I can ask the boy and post results if anyone is sour beer fan.

I polled the dinner guests to see which kimchi was their favorite, but it the answers were evenly distributed. The most familiar and complex tasting kimchi was definitely the napa cabbage kimchi.

I let this kimchi ferment for a few days in the kitchen, but when the days got warmer, I moved the jar to a cooler room. Total fermentation time was 1 week. The tang and spice level was just right!

The cucumber and daikon kimchis did not need to ferment for very long. Some recipes I consulted said that they were ready as soon I they were finished, and to leave them in the refrigerator for a stronger flavor. Some of the daikon recipes required one to four weeks of fermentation. I suppose it depends on how long you are going to store them and the strength of your brine (lactobicillus, the bacterium that gives the kimchi its characteristic tang, can live in salty environment, but the more salt added, the slower the bacterium grows). I fermented both kimchis for 2 days.

I actually remembered to whip out the camera during my kimchi making frenzy.

For the cucumbers, I started with 1.5 lbs of Persian cucumbers.

Once they cucumbers were quartered, I tossed them into a nonreactive bowl (no metal) and I added 2 T of kosher salt.

Look at all the brine! This picture was taken 3 hours after I salted the cucumbers. I let them sit for a few more hours before adding the rest of the spices.

I tossed the brined cucumbers with some green onions, 1 T fish sauce, 1 T sugar, 1 T chili powder, and 6 cloves of minced garlic. They turned out crunchy, sweet, and salty! Before I served the cucumber kimchi, I sprinkled a little bit of roasted sesame oil over them. If I had toasted sesame seeds, I would have added those as well.

Besides the kimchi, I frantically finished a mini Dead Fish Hat for a baby shower. This project was fantastic for stash busting! I used so many odds and ends of my Tahki cotton stash.

Instead of using felt for the eyes, I crocheted a couple of circles with kitchen cotton. The boy was kind enough to sew on the eyes since I detest hand sewing.

As a final note, this is why we shouldn't hang towels on the oven. Ahem... (You know who you are!)


  1. That fish hat is really a cute piece! I've been on the lookout for some different items that could be baby gifts and this one will definitely be added to my list. As for the dish towel situation, I never thought about that but I better go was my towels now!

  2. That dog shot made me laugh out loud. I imagined him scratching his back side back and forth . . . like some other dimwit canine I know.

    The dead fish hat is a favorite. I must bump that up on my queue. So funny!

    Would you believe that I'm sitting here with a bowl of tiny cucumbers from the garden and wondering what do with them when I read your post. . . no kidding. I may give this a try if I have the courage to buy fish sauce.

  3. OMG-- that picture of the Mingus-butt is just too much! and a very valid point too... it seems like a very dangerous place to put a towel in your kitchen! :)

    for winging-it on the kimchi recipe, those all look like they turned out great! I can also send you pictures of the chili pepper powder my mom gave me (the brand) and also the type of cucumbers she uses. :) but you look like you're well on your way to becoming a kimchi-making-connosieur!

  4. Mmm, kimchi! I'm expecting a couple of daikon and napa cabbages in this year's CSA, and I never know quite what to do with them. I'll keep this idea in mind!



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