Thanksgiving Kimchi in 44 Easy Steps

I am home for Thanksgiving, that most American tradition of food, family, and fighting! It only follows that I would take part in another semi-traditional food/family/fighting endeavor: making some holiday Kimchi! My family (myself included) is rather attached to Strong Flavors, and kimchi has always fitted the Strong Flavor bill to a T. (To a tee?) For years, we enjoyed it store-bought (check out your friendly neighborhood Super H Mart) but it then occurred to my father that you can make this treat yourself. I had not taken part in this activity until today, but now I have.

Without further ado, I will give you my secret family recipe for making homemade kimchi at home! (NOTE: For context, check out my WAFFLES post!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Huge Napa Cabbage (approx. the size of a one year old human child)
  • 1 Large white-ribbed pak choi (approx. the size of a mop head)
  • 1 Smaller pak choi that is green (larger than a hat?)
  • 5 or 7 green onions
  • 1 large daikon radish (the size of a forearm, hand removed)
  • 1 large Korean radish
  • 1 medium jicama
  • Some mustard greens (Like, 4?)
  • Some Swiss rainbow chard (one bunch)
  • 9 fresh red chili peppers
  • 1 Cup dried, ground red chiles
  • 4-5 Big spoonfuls of minced garlic
  • 12 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1 can anchovies
  • 5 cups assorted sauces (anchovy sauce, sand lance sauce, premium fish sauce, oyster sauce)
  • Like-a-hand-full of sesame seeds
  • Some sesame oil
  • 1 chunk ginger root (1.5-2 big toes’ worth) (Also it’s technically a rhizome.)
  • A couple of tablespoons of white sugar.
  • A lot of sea salt
  • Enough water
  • Some baking soda

Materials:

  • 2 (two) 1 gallon pickle jars (pickles and juice removed)
  • 1 (one) BIG PAN
  • 2 BIG BOWLS
  • 1 Food Processor
  • Measuring cups (any size)
  • Spoons
  • Knives
  • Peeler
  • Cutting board
  • Printed out recipe from The Internet
  • A smaller bowl

Don’t be daunted by the many ingredients and tools! There’s no time for that, seriously. It’s time to make the stuff. Once you and your family members (at least 2!) have crowded around the counter, it’s time to gogogo!

  1. Mix almost all of the sea salt into a big bowl of water
  2. Okay, wash those leafy vegetables!
  3. Cut the Huge Napa Cabbage into fifths, lengthwise! Pull the pak choi leaves off of each other!
  4. Lay all the leaves in the Big Pan. They will overfill the pan, but don’t worry!
  5. Pour the salty water on them. Let them sit for like 3 or 4 hours.
  6. Add the ginger root (rhizome) to the food processor.
  7. Consult the internet recipe. Add the appropriate quantities of minced garlic (2 tbsp), and fish sauce (1/2 cup) to the food processor.
  8. Your father can now set aside the internet recipe and add the remaining 4 ½ cups of fish sauce and 3 tbsp of minced garlic.
  9. Add 3 anchovies.
  10. A couple more.
  11. Might as well use them up…
  12. Don’t waste that anchovy oil! Add it, too.
  13. Whoops–fish the ginger out of the sauces and peel it. Put it back in.
  14. PULVERIZE IT ON HIGH!
  15. Cut the Korean radish into ½ inch cubes
  16. Cut the jicama into fish-sticks
  17. Cut the ends off the green onions.
  18. Chop those red hot peppers! Into lots of pieces!
  19. Half the 12 cloves of garlic.
  20. Add the results of steps 14 through 19 into the other big bowl.
  21. Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil to that.
  22. Peel and grate half of the daikon into the mix, and put the rest away after all.
  23. Add the cup of red chili powder.
  24. Add about 2 tbsp ground sea salt.
  25. And like 2 tsp white sugar.
  26. Mix it. Mix it up. Mix that mix.
  27. The dogs will beg for it, but it’s not for them. They would not like it, much less really appreciate it, so ignore those dogs. Just mix.
  28. This is not a step! Okay, so you can chill out for a while, while the vegetables soak and stuff. Move some monster plants around, try not to step on your brother’s awful cat. Get stabbed by a lime tree. Have some coffee. After a couple of hours, the greens will have wilted down into the brine. Great!
  29. Dump the salt water and rinse the greens.
  30. Cover them in the chunky sauce mix. Shove it in their crooks, crevices, and plantish armpits.
  31. Start stuffing them into the gallon jars. The internet recipe suggests you wear rubber gloves to avoid capsicum burns from all the hot peppers. Your father will assure you that those are a myth.
  32. Stuff the vegetables and sauce deep into the gallon jars, making sure not to let any air pockets form. You will get the sauce almost up to your elbows in this process.
  33. Develop mild chemical burns on your hands and arms.
  34. Add the remaining chunky sauce. Juices will pour out of the jars and across the countertop.
  35. Push out any remaining air-pockets.
  36. Close and rinse the jars.
  37. Wash the counter.
  38. Continue experiencing chemical burns. Do not be tempted to touch anything, especially not your eyes!
  39. Complain to your mother, quick!
  40. With her wisdom, mix the baking soda and some water into the smaller bowl, creating a thin paste.
  41. Put it on your hands and arms. Ahhh.
  42. Rinse it off.
  43. Your brother already put the jars in the basement; awesome.
  44. In a couple days, chop up the jars’ contents and then re-jar them for some more days, I am told!

So I’ll be taking one of these jars back up north with me after Thanksgiving, and I’ll let you know what it tastes like.

Mix almost all of the sea salt into a big bowl of waterOkay, wash those leafy vegetables!Cut the Huge Napa Cabbage into fifths, lengthwise! Pull the pak choi leaves off of each other! Ditto mustardLay the leaves in the Big Pan. They will overfill the pan, but don’t worry! 

Pour the salty water on them all. Let them sit for like 3 or 4 hours.

Add the ginger root (rhizome) to the food processor.

Consult the internet recipe. Add the appropriate quantities of minced garlic (2 tbsp), and fish sauce (1/2 cup) to the food processor.

Set aside the internet recipe and add the remaining 4 ½ cups of fish sauce and 3 tbsp of minced garlic.

Also add 3 anchovies.

A couple more.

Might as well use them up…

Don’t waste that anchovy oil! Add it, too.

Whoops–fish the ginger out of the sauces and peel it. Put it back in.

PULVERIZE IT ON HIGH!

Cut the Asian radish into ½ inch cubes

Cut the jicama into fish-sticks

Cut the ends off the green onions.

Chop those red hot peppers! Into lots of pieces!

Half the 12 cloves of garlic.

Add the results of steps 14 through 19 into the other big bowl.

Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil to that.

Peel and grate half of the daikon into the mix, and put the rest away after all.

Add the cup of red chili powder.

Add about 2 tbsp ground sea salt.

And like 2 tsp white sugar.

Mix it. Mix it up. Mix that mix.

The dogs will beg for it, but it’s not for them. They would not like it, much less really appreciate it, so ignore those dogs. Just mix.

Okay, so you can chill out for a while, while the vegetables soak and stuff. Move some monster plants around, try not to step on your brother’s awful cat. Get stabbed by a lime tree. Have some coffee. After a couple of hours, the greens will have wilted down into the brine. Great!

Rinse the greens.

Cover them in the chunky sauce mix. Shove it in their crooks, crevices, and plantish armpits.

Start stuffing them into the gallon jars. The internet recipe suggests you wear rubber gloves to avoid capsicum burns from all the hot peppers. Your father will assure you that this is a myth.

Stuff the vegetables and sauce deep into the gallon jars, making sure not to let any air pockets form. You will get the sauce almost up to your elbows in this process.

Develop mild chemical burns on your hands and arms.

Add the remaining chunky sauce. Juices pour out of the jars and across the countertop.

Push out any remaining air-pockets.

Close and rinse the jars.

Wash the counter.

Continue experiencing chemical burns. Do not be tempted to touch anything, especially not your eyes!

Complain to your mother, quick!

Mix the baking soda and some water into the smaller bowl, creating a thin paste.

Put it on your hands and arms. Ahhh.

Rinse it off.

Your brother already put the jars in the basement; awesome.

In a couple days, chop up the jars’ contents and then re-jar them for some more days, I am told!

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3 responses to “Thanksgiving Kimchi in 44 Easy Steps

  1. I love this. And I REALLY hope that a cookbook of recipes with this format gets published sometime.

  2. CHEMICAL BURNS? You left that part out!! D:

  3. I didn’t read this before! How horrible. Panna. I hope that kimchi is delicious and not horrid.

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