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I thought kimchi deserved it's own thread instead of riding on the baking soda one.  Made my 3rd batch at work yesterday and it seems to have gone well, my only issue is second-guessing amounts of paste ingredients to match the bulk of other stuff and adding more of one thing and another right until packing it.  I always seem to not have enough paste, (but I work it until everything is as evenly coated as possible) but when it starts working in the jar it tastes fine anyway - but I don't have that reddish tint I see in pictures and wonder about maybe adding some sriracha?  I wondered about adding chili-garlic sauce but the warning in the recipe that too much garlic can make it bitter decided me against it.  At present it ain't broke so I'm not fixing it.  I've been taking a little container of kimchi to work and eating it with a kimchi flavoured ramen noodle bowl at lunch, though the health benefits of that much kimchi are probably just enough to act as the antidote to the spice packets that come with the soup. :D

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Going back and actually looking at the pics in the recipe, their chili flakes are more finely ground than mine, and I'm not adding any water or kelp powder, just nuoc mam, so that could explain the consistency difference in paste, why mine isn't as reddish, and why the brine doesn't rise to cover it all in the jar for a day or so. Again, not anxious about that.   Friday's batch used a lot of stuff, big cabbage, big daikon, about a pound of carrots and a pound of bok choy that was in the crisper so I doubled at least the paste ingredients, winging it to try to make something more paste-like, adding more sugar in the hope it may aid fermentation.  Next time, if I have the presence of mind I should put up one jar of kimchi with sriracha and one with chili-garlic added for comparison.  It seems like an odd kick but it's easy and fun and probably the healthiest thing I'm doing now.

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Just started a fridge-cleaning batch with plain cabbage and radishes. We'll see how it goes :)

For the bigger red pepper product, check online or at a Korean grocer for 'gochugaru' . More of a small flake red pepper than a powder. :)

 

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I'll have a look in the Asian market, but when I started this I bought a big container of chili flakes, so what I might try as well is crushing those up a little finer to match the consistency of gochugaru. 

Edited by Rick

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As Wyzyrd said, the Koreans use a red pepper paste, commonly known as "Gochujang"- reasonably sure any asian supermarket would have it. 

That said, if your current system works for you, I wouldn't stress about the colour! ;) 

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 I started mauling some chili flakes and soon realised there was something different, went back and checked a pic of gochugaru (appropriate response is gesundheit) and it was obvious - they seem to somehow have winnowed the seeds out of it.  If correct this could mean that the increased density of the ingredient as it's measured and the trade off of heat from the seeds for flavour from the pod will change the character of the batch if there's 3 tbs going into a quart.  I couldn't find gochujang in a forum search so googled it; the instant cucumber kimchi salad with gochujang sounds like it might be good.  I didn't see gochugaru at the wholesale store so I'll stop in at the Asian market.  I can use a 340g jar of chili flakes in other stuff (I sometimes put it in carp bait as well as eating it).  Depends if I prefer the gochugaru.

Edit:  I found a pretty good match for gochugaru in the Asian store but I thought it was a bit pricey and want to check out a couple of other places.  I have to scale down batch size so I can try different things and not have quarts of kimchi taking up space while I'm only eating 4 or 5 oz a day. 

 

Gochugaru.jpg

Edited by Rick
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I'll be going back to the Asian store, $12 for a lb seems reasonable after all since it costs more online and I haven't seen it anywhere else in town. They don't call it gochugaru but it looks like the stuff and one of the several name and price tags jammed into the shelf beneath it says kimchi chili. :D I'll corroborate that with the staff.   If I had access to a big Korean supermarket like Pat Supermarket in Ontario I might find it for a bit less or on a sale, but this is a LOT of spice for the money.  A product description on one website bears out my theory about the seeds.  They must split the pods and scoop the seeds out, then sun dry the peppers before crushing them:

"Hot, sweet, fragrant and brilliantly red, coarsely ground Korean chili is great for cooking, and a beautiful tasty garnish. Sprinkle it liberally on poultry, seafood and meats before grilling or pan-frying. Use it on finished noodle dishes, pizza, eggs, potato and pasta salads and so on. Keep it in a shaker on the table to brighten up the flavour and appearance of everyday foods like burgers, sandwiches and soups. Because it is seedless, it has a sweeter flavour and much nicer mouth feel than ordinary chili flakes."

I want to make some incorporating red cabbage and cucumber a little later today.   Wyzard, do you leave the peel on the cucumber?

 

Edited by Rick
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Sounds great :)

I usually use "english" cukes or Kirby pickling cucumbers, so I leave the skins on, slice and salt heavily, then drain overnight in a strainer. For the cucumbers,  usually  use gochujang paste (fermented soybeans and chiles), when I have it.

I'm about 80 miles from my favorite Korean supermarket, but they have an entire aisle of different brands and sizes of bags of gochugaru, all the way from 1 ounce to 20 pounds. They also have kimchi refrigerators designed to hold about 10 crocks at the perfect slow fermentation temperature and a "salad bar" of about 30 different kimchi types .... I love that place....

 

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The gochugaru, wasn't.  On close examination it had lots of seeds and was just more finely crushed (Chinese product), but they had the paste so I bought a big thing of that and will use crushed chilies and paste in combination.  The lady said they probably stock the right stuff but are just out of it.  My cabbage has been brining for 2 1/2 hrs and I didn't include the English cuke in there (hey, what do I know?), so what I'll do is salt it and throw it in with some of the cabbage for another half hour then rinse.  I have some wonderfull honey from some young people who only keep a few hives, mostly fed on wildflowers and some canola, so I used that instead of sugar.  The 2 little jars have cuke, the big one doesn't.

I'm marinating pork loin slices in a bit of that paste with some hoisin and lime juice , maybe use the little bbq once before bringing it in, so there's no reason not to try a little of the fresh stuff, I'll cook some rice...

 

20171015_133936.jpg

Edited by Rick

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There were a bunch of wieners left over from a party event on the weekend so I've had kimchi hotdogs for lunch 3 days in a row (saving some time at work), but today I took a day off and made some fresh stuff so it was extra good.

 

 

20171018_155624.jpg

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On 18/10/2017 at 11:07 PM, Rick said:

There were a bunch of wieners left over from a party event on the weekend so I've had kimchi hotdogs for lunch 3 days in a row (saving some time at work), but today I took a day off and made some fresh stuff so it was extra good.

 

 

20171018_155624.jpg

Rick...that stuff looks amazing. Been following your progress from the beginning and wow, as someone who lived in korea town for quite a few years- I am unbelievably impressed.

I really gotta get off my ass and make some myself. :( 

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Thanks, but it's easy and it's enough fun to make that my problem is getting rid of it. :$  I've liked each batch but keep switching things around and tweaking it.  Wyzard's suggestion re: cucumbers was great so I'm using more of those, a little less red cabbage, altering  spices with the volume (or trying to).  My approach to things that I see millions of people do every day is that it can't be really hard, and if I want to try I will.  A big plus along with health benefits and economy is that you can make your own custom recipe for your favourite kimchi, which won't be available in stores.

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On 21/10/2017 at 7:37 PM, Rick said:

Thanks, but it's easy and it's enough fun to make that my problem is getting rid of it. :$  I've liked each batch but keep switching things around and tweaking it.  Wyzard's suggestion re: cucumbers was great so I'm using more of those, a little less red cabbage, altering  spices with the volume (or trying to).  My approach to things that I see millions of people do every day is that it can't be really hard, and if I want to try I will.  A big plus along with health benefits and economy is that you can make your own custom recipe for your favourite kimchi, which won't be available in stores.

Aye, I 100% will make my own. I have had commercial and restaurant kimchi which I like but if I had the choice, I would like a somewhat more crunchy texture- any thoughts as to what I should use?

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13 hours ago, Thomas said:

Aye, I 100% will make my own. I have had commercial and restaurant kimchi which I like but if I had the choice, I would like a somewhat more crunchy texture- any thoughts as to what I should use?

While Wyzard is the one to ask, this is what's been working for me.  Along with the nappa cabbage, green onions and daikon I incorporated cucumbers and some red cabbage, (I assume green would work).  The latter 2 things seem to stay a bit crunchier.  Since the crunch is best when fresh and it's tasty even on day 1, consider making small batches that only yield a pint instead of jars at a time (if you have enough friends that like it, not an issue).  You could probably still make a decent ration of paste at once, refrigerate, and use as required.  One recipe I saw claimed to make crunchier kimchi but involved salting the cabbage under a weight overnight (like sauerkraut) instead of brining and I declined.  I saw this on tv a few years ago, the kimchi segment is at about 5:30, it's about a big commercial producer.  http://www.foodnetwork.ca/shows/food-factory/video/episode/salty-and-sweet/video.html?v=64744003694

With a couple of little changes each time, (and some fish sauce), I'm still using the simple formula from the shortest video in the top 3, with catchy steel guitar.

 

Edited by Rick
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Great info video :)

I have mostly been using the salt and drain method, which does yield crunches cabbage, etc. The downside to doing this is that you need to reaaaaaly rinse the be jeepers out of the veggies, or it ends up way too salty. I recently made a batch with collard greens, shredded medium fine and gochujang as the paste that ended up with great texture, but inedibly salty. It's all trial and error, I guess.

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In my search for gochuguru I omitted one store; I'd never been in there and it just slipped my mind - Seoul Mart. :$

That's the place, you can get all you want there.  I asked the clerk if using this instead of paste and crushed chilis would make any difference in taste and he said he didn't think so...  we'll see next batch.

20171030_103649.jpg

Edited by Rick

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On 10/30/2017 at 7:14 PM, Thomas said:

Alright folks, thanks to @Rick & @Wyzyrd I have all the info I need so I can't make any excuses. I will endeavour this Kimchi journey and report my findings here for judgement. ;) 

You'll have fun making it, and it's sure to be good.   ;)

Edited by Rick

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19 hours ago, Gary_Gough said:

100,000 kilos in 2 days, that's amazing!  

Edit: Just wanted to mention that one of my friends who can't tolerate gluten can't have any  with the gochujiang paste in it because it has fermented soya, so I might just use gochuguru in half a batch and combination in the rest.  On the other hand, who knows just what I might do? xD

Edited by Rick

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It will, no doubt, sound silly, but if you have people who don't appreciate kimchi, you can tame the heat and fermented funk quite a bit by stir frying it with some onion, garlic and fresh ginger, then adding yesterday's rice, a little soy and just enough  stock or broth to moisten, and maybe some scrambled egg to make a "fusion" fried rice dish. Delicious and frugal :)

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