The Rumbly Tummy: Scott's Camper Kimchi in July
We're a little late (or early depending on how you look at it) for this month's Rumbly Tummy. You see, we've been busy as a beaver, a term which typically refers to the dam building habits of large, semi-aquatic rodents with flat, capable tails, but which here refers to hanging out with Mallory's parents, going to Kennywood (Pittsburg's oldest amusement park), jumping on trampoline's and screaming while sliding down water slides in an indoor water park with a certain niece and three certain nephews, and finishing season two of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. Some of those events have had more of an effect on our bodies and others more of an effect on our writing style. Either way you look at it, though, we missed publishing our monthly food blog, The Rumbly Tummy, last week and so today we're going to walk you through a Kimchi recipe we've made that is verifiably freaking delicious.
You likely didn't notice that we were late, as you were probably busy as a beaver yourself with your 4th of July celebrations. One of our favorite things about this great country is its diversity and inclusiveness and all of the delicious foods that we get to eat on account of it. Kimchi is a perfect example. A staple in Korean cuisine, it's a traditional side dish made of salted and fermented cabbage and other vegetables that may remind you of sauerkraut. It's often dank, spicy and stinky and is a cancer fighting agent. It's also pretty easy to make and can accompany a variety of dishes such as ramen, beans and rice, or spring rolls. You can even act like an American and put it on your hot dog! We decided to keep it fresh and light by putting in and on our fresh spring rolls and a side of peanut sauce (pictured below).
1 medium napa cabbage
1 large carrot, grated
1 bunch scallions or green onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced (pictured are garlic scrapes which will work just as well)
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons sea salt (finely ground)
1 teaspoon sugar (or sweetening agent like honey)
1 teaspoon dulse seaweed, minced (optional, but it gives it a nice extra salty B-12 kick)
1 dried chile (optional, your choice depending on how spicy you like your kimchi)
1. Remove two outer leaves of cabbage and set aside. Slice the napa cabbage into quarters, the long way, and rinse thoroughly. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Put cabbage in large bowl and massage 2 tablespoons salt into the cabbage leaves. Place a plate on top, cover with a towel and let sit for two hours so the cabbage can release its juices (the technical term is macerate but you can just say release it's juices). After 2 hours, rinse cabbage under cool running water, squeezing out excess water. Remove core from each cabbage quarter and then cut into pieces roughly 2 inches long and return to the large bowl.
2. Combine grated carrot, minced scallion, minced garlic, minced ginger, remaining teaspoon salt, sugar and dulse seaweed and chile if using. Toss ingredients together in a small bowl.
3. Add small bowl of aromatics to large bowl of cut cabbage and use your hands to mix ingredients together. Massage all ingredients together thoroughly.
4. Pack a 1 quart mason jar (you may end up using more than one mason jar depending on how big your cabbage is) adding a handful at a time and then pushing the cabbage down with a packer (a pickle packer, a lemon squeezer, a heavy spoon will work too). You'll start to notice that the brine will rise up in the jar as you pack it covering the cabbage. Once you've reached the shoulder of the jar, continue packing until the brine covers all your veggies, which is necessary for fermentation to occur. Take one of the two leaves of cabbage you've reserved and place on top of kimchi, maybe even taking one of the discarded cores and using it to push the leaf down so that all the kimchi is submerged in brine.
5. Place in a cool, dry place, preferably in a tupperware container. As the kimchi ferments, it'll bubble and release gas and likely some of the liquid will leak out of the jar, so don't just set it on your counter. One of our favorite things about kimchi is that unlike other pickled cabbages, it is best enjoyed while the cabbage is still crisp and sweet. 3 days should do the trick. After opening, remove cabbage leaf and core, and store in a refrigerator.
6. Put kimchi on everything and convince your camper partner that storing it unexpectedly in your limited space camper to ferment really was a good idea, after all.