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MAGAZINE

Home Notice MAGAZINE
title The Delicate Process of Making a Kimchi
Writer Raj Date Created 2023-01-09 16:08:37


Not Just a Mere Ethnic Food
 
Kimchi has always been an integral part in Korean food culture for thousands of years. It is also a symbol of Korean identity and pride. There is also an annual event dedicated to just making a LOT of kimchi which is known as "Kimjang", it is a traditional practice of preparing a huge amount of kimchi to be consumed throughout the course of winter. Kimchi is also rich in ancient historical values ​​that reflect the Korean way of life, and there has been a philisophical study about the values ​​of Kimchi and Kimjang.

Kimchi, in appearance, is a fermented vegetable dish and it is characterized by its spicy, sour, sweet, and carbonated tastes with a strong acidic odor. Most of us are already familiar the appearance and the tangy, spicy taste of kimchi that we see and consume at our local restaurants. There are 200 types of kimchi that vary according to the ingredients used. The most common kimchi we consume are processed through factories; on the other hand, traditional kimchi uses a different method of processing and it can take more than 6 months of fermenting to reach a certain desired flavor.

How kimchis are made traditionally


Kimchi inside an onggi jar for its fermentation process
The list of steps below are instructions on how to make a homemade kimchi. It is a very delicate process and very different from the factory-processed or traditional kimchi. Here are the list of ingredients that you need:
- 2 pounds of nappa cabbage
- Sea salt (not the iodized salt)
- Water 
- 5-6 gloves of grated garlic 
- Grated peeled ginger 
- Granulated sugar 
- Fish sauce
- Korean red papper flakes
- Korean radish 
- Scallions 

 
Step 1: Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem, you can cut the cabbage through any size you want as long as you retain that square-cut shape.

Step 2: After cutting the cabbage, put it in to a bowl and sprinkle it with salt then start massaging the cabbage with the salt until the cabbage feels a bit soft. After massaging the cabbage, fill the bowl with water just enough the cover the whole cabbage then cover it and let it stand for 2 hours.

Step 3: After waiting for 2 hours, drain out the bowl and rinse the cabbage with cold water, do this 3 times. After you rinse the cabbage set it aside in a colander.

Step 4: Make the paste. Using the bowl where you salted the cabbages, put in the garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce then stir it until you make a good paste. Then add the Korean red pepper flakes then continue mixing. After you have attained the desired results for your pastes its time to mix the paste with the cabbage

Step 5: Squeeze out the remaining water in the cabbage then proceed to mix the cabbage in the paste. You can also add the raddish and scallions.

Step 6: With your hands (preferrably with gloves), start massaging the cabbages again until all of it are covered with the paste. This is a delicate process where you make sure that all the cabbages are thoroughly covered with the paste.

Step 7: After thoroughly mixing, place the mixed cabbages in to a jar. Keep pressing the cabbages down the jar until you see the brine come out (the liquid that comes out). leave at least 1 inch space at the top and then seal the jar. The jar should look like it contains a compressed cabbage with brine sitting on top of it.

Step 8: Let it ferment for 1 to 5 days. Always place the jar on cool places, and not directly under the sun or room temperature places. You may see bubbles and the brine might seep out.

Step 9: Check the jar everyday, make sure that the vegetables is always submerged under the brine. You can press it down with a spoon or with your clean finger. You can also taste the content while checking the jar so you can determine which ripeness or sourness taste great for you. After that you can refrigerate the jar and can eat it right away. But it is preferred to wait one or two weeks before consuming.