kim chee tips
I'm making Kimchee for the first time ever. Washing 5lbs of Chinese cabbage took FOREVER w/o a salad spinner, but now it's softening in a big pot of water. Basically I'm using a prepared spice mix which says to just add it to the cabbage/water and let it sit for 24 hours, but that doesn't seem...intense enough. Has anyone done this before? Is it kosher to add peppers, garlic, vinegar, or should I just stick with the packet? Any other advice? Thanks!
Jeez, I don't even wash/rinse the cabbage! I just chop, salt, drain, rinse if it's too salty, and pack with red pepper flakes, garlic, red pepper flakes, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cram it all into a tsukemono press (basically a big ol' jar with a spring-loaded lid), and wait for nature to take it's course. Once it smells right, I repack into smaller jars and put them into the fridge.
Uhhh... for future reference, don't bother with the salad spinner. Just wash the cabbage in the sink using a stopper; the dirt sinks to the bottom. A few rinses ought to do it. Then drain in a colander. Then you put the cabbage in a big container and liberally sprinkle with salt, which draws out the water from the cabbage. Let the salt do its work. Squeeze out the excess water with your hands. Then you add the flavorings.
Everyone's kimchee recipe is different, but you should add lots of garlic, Korean red pepper flakes, shrimp paste or dried shrimp or fish paste, green onion, ginger, a little sugar etc. Then it still isn't going to taste "right" as it hasn't pickled yet. Pack it up in jars then let the fermentation process do its work.
All good advice. I made kim chee for the first time last February and used pretty much all the additional ingredients you mention, with fermented baby shrimp as the fish element. Packed the batch into a big clay pot and left it, covered, on a shelf in the kitchen for about five days until fermentation had started. Then put it into glass jars in the fridge. There isn't much left at this point, but, wow, does the lid of the jar pop when we open it!