Personal blog of Liz from Kauai.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kauai Wonbok Gimchi

I was born of Korean parents nearly 60 years ago but it was not until this year that I actually made a decent batch of gimchi (kimchi).
I'm still tweaking with each batch but this will give you the general idea in case you want to try it yourself.

I started with a couple heads of won bok cabbage and a small daikon radish with the leaves still attached.

I sliced the cabbage into quarters lengthwise and kept the leaves attached to the stem.

I salted the cabbage and the radish tops with about 1/3 cup of ground sea salt and placed them in a large stainless bowl. I added about a cup of water to be sure the salt was well-distributed and then covered the bowl with my old wok lid and weighted it down with a large bottle of unopened apple juice. You can use anything handy to do this. The point is to have a weight on the cabbage to help the salt extract the water.

Let the cabbage salt for about a day. I turned the quarters a few times during the process to be sure it all was salted evenly. Then I drained off the salt water and tasted a leaf near the stem. The cabbage needs to be limp but crunchy when it is ready. Rinse with clean water.

If it is too salty (this is the tricky part- to use the right amount of salt and may take several tries to get it the way you like it), rinse the leaves in fresh water a little longer.

The sauce and stuffing.

Peel the daikon and trim ends. Slice thinly and then slices the strips into julienne pieces. Place in large bowl.

Peel and mince a few cloves of fresh garlic (again, to taste) and green onion to taste (I had a few leaves that sprouted from the roots of green onion I saved from the last batch. I put the roots in a cup with a little water and leave it on the windowsill).

The next ingredient is important. Real Korean coarse ground chili pepper. I got this bag at Palama Supermarket in Honolulu. Korean chilis are relatively mild for the amount of redness they add to the sauce. I would not use ground cayenne or anything else as the color or the heat would be off.

Mix the whole batch of sauce ingredients together with a cup or so of water and add a little sugar and a little salt to taste.
I had some kimchi sauce mix in a bottle from earlier batches of cucumber gimchi so I decided to finish it off. I filled the bottle to the top with water and then poured the whole thing into the dry ingredients.
Now it is time to prepare the wonbok. Take one of the sections and place it in the large bowl of sauce mix. Stuff the sauce and julienned daikon between each leaf so all the leaves are covered with sauce. Then do this with each section and end with the daikon leaves. Be sure to taste the gimchi as you go to be able to add ingredients if you need to. Fresh gimchi that tastes good will usually taste great when it has fermented.
The gimchi is now ready to go into jars. Glass jars are my favorite. I really like the jar from sun dried tomatoes at Costco. They have a very wide mouth and sturdy metal cover.
Take each cabbage section and place it in the jar leaves first. be sure to press them down firmly as you add each section. My sister says that gimchi tightly packed into the jar seems to taste better. I agree.
Then top off the jar with the daikon leaves and any sauce left over in the pan. Leave a little space at the top for expansion. Cover the jar with wax paper or plastic wrap and then cover tightly with the cap.
Let the jars sit out at least one or two days before refrigerating. To serve, open a jar and carefully remove a section. Slice it on a cutting board and serve.

Bon appetite!


Anonymous gigi-hawaii said...

Kam sam ni da, Liz.

Why aren't the won bok sliced in chunks before being stuffed in the jar? Slicing it before serving would be hum bug, it seems to me.

I would use latex gloves, too. I bet your hands reeked of kim chi for days! LOL

I agree that the tricky part is salting it just right. Nothing worse than kimchi that is too salty, especially cucumber kimchi.

July 12, 2009 at 5:55 AM  
Anonymous wafan said...

Hmmmm, sounds like something I could try at home(s). There is a decent Korean store closeby and they have the Korean chili peppers.

I wonder if the owner would be willing to provide advice. Of course, I could just as easily purchase the kimchi she makes. HA!

So, the LizKauai site is yours. Cool. People always think being a wedding photographer is an easy job that makes a lot of cash. Right. Having to put up with MIL's, brides maids who think they know how to get the right shot (just because they have been in a lot of wedding parties), and the bride-zillas themselves.

Ugh. If you want me to shoot your shots then you better buy them and not moku about how strange they look!

That is why I do not do weddings anymore.


July 12, 2009 at 1:28 PM  

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