Daegu Citizen Press 2017
The Art of Kimchi:
When in Korea, no matter what restaurant you go to, or what type of food you order, there is one dish, or side dish, that is always included. Yes, you guessed it, Kimchi. Kimchi comes in, or with everything, and is the backbone to any Korean meal. If you really want to impress your Korean friends, or family, you should definitely learn to make it.
What is Kimchi? Kimchi is, in short, is pickled cabbage, and there are several different types of kimchi. White kimchi, red kimchi, water kimchi; in fact, some kimchi isn’t even cabbage. For the sake of this article, we will focus on the most popular, and the most known, the red spicy kimchi. This kimchi is served as a side with just about any Korean dish, and used as an ingredient within dishes, such as kimchi chige (stew), and kimchi bokumbap (fried rice); no household is without it. Most families even have a separate kimchi refrigerator, just to store their kimchi in; as kimchi made in huge batches.
Kimchi requires several different ingredients, and takes a lot of time to make, hence why such huge batches are made. It’s not something you want to make every week. Here is a list of ingredients:
Napa cabbage (a type of Chinese cabbage)
Salt (sea salt of kosher)
Radish (Cut into matchsticks)
Scallions (cut and trimmed)
Korea red peppers (You can buy them pre-ground, or grind them yourself in a blender)
Oyster Stock (or fish stock)
First you have to prep the cabbage. Mix water and salt, to create a salt water bath. The cabbage is then cut into quarters (through the middle) and left overnight. Once this is completed, drain the cabbage. Next you will prepare the pepper paste. Mix the grated ginger, minced garlic, pepper powder (coarse) sugar, oyster stock, and water in a bowl. Once you have a good mixture (taste to your liking), you can chop the radish into matchsticks, as well as dice the scallions. Now you should have three different bowls: one with the big cabbage, one with pepper paste, one with the chopped radish and scallions. Mix some of chopped veggies into a bowl with some pepper paste, then, using your hands, rub the paste in-between each leaf of the cabbage. Make sure to coat each leave well, as the paste will prevent the cabbage from rotting, and allow the cabbage to pickle. Once each leaf is thoroughly covered in paste, gently wrap the cabbage with its longer lower leaf, to hold it together. Place in container, then place in the fridge.
Confusing right!? I agree. That’s why I encourage you to take a kimchi making class! It’s easy, and fun. Where can I take such a class? Good question, and it’s been right under your nose; Homeplus. Homeplus are in every city here in Korea, and most, if not all Homeplus’ have a “community/cultural” class center. They will have a monthly schedule for all the activities, such as making kimchi. They might have other Korean dishes as well! Just walk up to the front desk, and they can help you sign up for the class. When I took the class, I had to pay a fee, not a lot, and it included all the ingredients I would need to make kimchi. The class is in Korean, but never fear, I couldn’t speak Korean, and the instructor as well as other women were always willing to help me, and it made it a lot of fun.
After taking the class, you become a kimchi master, and with this new-found skill, you can use it to win favor with your in-laws, that special someone, or maybe just your friends. Most importantly, you can continue to make kimchi back in your home country, and have all your friends and family ask you, “What’s that smell coming from the fridge?”
- Where: Homeplus recreaction center