Recipe: quick kimchi
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sweet sweet lovin’
The other day while finishing a shoot, I had the deck door open for Kaweah to wander in and out at her leisure (she really takes her time). As I was walking back to the work area, I noticed Kaweah was pointing intently at something on the ground below. I figured it was one of my neighbor’s feral dogs. Kaweah looked like she wanted to bark. I walked out and told her it was okay to bark, figuring it would get whichever dog out of our yard. She gave a great big bark – it’s really very cute how such a little dog can produce a big dog bark – and wagged her tail. I peered over the edge and saw…
the fantastic mr. fox
This is our neighborhood fox. I immediately felt bad for giving Kaweah permission to bark. The fox didn’t seem to care about her at all. Smart fox. Kaweah got all excited and growly, so I carried her inside the house and returned with my camera. This fox traipses through our yard regularly… daily. I hadn’t seen it in a while and I realized it wasn’t because the fox hadn’t been coming around, but that I’d been completely immersed in work. It reminded me to pay attention to the little things, to take a break and look up every now and again. So I asked Jeremy if he’d like to go on a lunch date the next day. It was lovely.
oysters and sparkling rosé at the kitchen
The whole reason for plowing through the work schedule is to have a few free days to prepare for Chinese New Year which is this Sunday. In my fledgling blogging days, I referenced a handful of Asian food blogs to expand my understanding of techniques and traditions, particularly for this important holiday. Some have since gone silent, but one of my favorite resources is thankfully still going strong. Jaden of Steamy Kitchen is a wealth of information and recipes. She documents her knowledge for the rest of us on the website, in newspapers, on television, at conferences, in person, and in books. I say BOOKS because the second one just came out!
Jaden’s book, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites transforms popular Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, and Vietnamese dishes into simple, easy, quick, and healthy masterpieces. The collection is also punctuated with modern fusion recipes applying an Asian twist to western fare. The pages offer Jaden’s vibrant and tantalizing food photography as well as endearing snapshots of her family, friends, and life. Sprinkled throughout her stories are Jaden’s cheeky humor and delightful enthusiasm. It’s a personal cookbook. She is sharing herself with the reader while simultaneously making several cuisines entirely accessible to the average home cook.
Disclosure: I received a review copy from Jaden’s publisher, Ten Speed Press. I get to say what I want.
There were so many recipes to choose from, but I was ultimately drawn to the quick kimchi. I’m a bit of a kimchi fanatic, although I’ve never made it myself. Jaden’s quick kimchi was a good baby pool introduction for me before I dive into the deep end of traditional kimchi. Bonus: the quick kimchi doesn’t make people wonder what died in the refrigerator (I personally love that smell).
simple as: napa cabbage, salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions, rice vinegar, sambal oelek (chili paste)
shred the cabbage by slicing it into thin strips with a sharp knife
salt the shredded cabbage
toss it together
You can pretty much make this in under a half hour. Salting the cabbage helps to draw the excess liquid out of the vegetable and that takes 15 minutes. While the cabbage gives up its water, you can prep the rest of the ingredients.
grated ginger, minced garlic, chopped green onions
When the cabbage is ready, you’ll find it has deflated or reduced in volume substantially. Grab a handful and start squeezing the water out. When you’ve squeezed all of the cabbage, toss the water out and place the greens into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and give it a good mix.
squeeze the water out
add sambal oelek
pour in the rice vinegar
mix it up
I tasted the kimchi right after mixing it and felt it needed more heat. I doubled the chili paste, although I think I could have added more. Oh, I also doubled the amount of garlic because I have strong feelings about garlic and chili – I love them. Although you can eat it right away, Jaden rightly recommends refrigerating the kimchi overnight to let the flavors develop. I definitely think it tastes better if you give it a day.
fill the jar with your kimchi
now try it after a day
This is more like a refrigerator pickled cabbage than the typical fermented kimchi. There is no time for fermentation, so it lacks that wonderful stinky tang you find in traditional kimchi. That said, I really enjoy eating this quick kimchi because it is a bright, spicy, crunchy snack or accompaniment to noodles or rice. And cabbage is good for you! Also, Jeremy doesn’t wrinkle his nose at the smell when I open the jar of THIS kimchi, so there’s that.
i may or may not have been seen eating it straight out of the jar
Reprinted with permission from The Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites, by Jaden Hair,
copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
1 head napa cabbage
4 tbsps kosher or sea salt (or 2 tbsps table salt)
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsps hot chile paste like sambal olek or Korean chili powder (I doubled this amount)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tsps sugar
Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage and the tough inner core at the base. Shred the cabbage using a sharp knife (don’t use a grater, that’s not the shred Jaden is talking about). In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the salt and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the liquid from the cabbage. Discard the liquid. Place the cabbage in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss together. Store the cabbage in a large mason jar and refrigerate. You can eat it immediately, but this kimchi develops better flavor over the course of a day. Store for up to one month in the refrigerator. Makes 2 quarts.