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Making Kimchi: Has anyone used Dried Anaheim/New Mexico chilis? Grinding methods?

1) My local Asian market surprisingly doesn't carry the ground korean chili (variety unknown). Anaheim/New Mexican have a nice mild heat, and they are everywhere in Latino markets. What do you think?

2) Also curious if toasting before grinding is necessary or even wanted for kimchi.

3) Going to try to use the Kitchen Aid Meat Grinder to get shorn flakes instead of blender powder. Has anyone tried this?

4) I was gazing at the post hole digger the other day, and remembered all those little tops of kimchi pots sticking out of the ground in Korea. Has anyone buried it successfully?

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  1. I've made kimchee before, and if you want it to taste like kimchee, you'll need to get Korean chili powder. While you could technically make it with other kinds it just won't taste right. You might want to try finding it online.

    I just found this substitution in a recipe, but it kinda scares me "Korean chili powder is available from Asian specialty stores or may be replaced with 1 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and sweet paprika for each teaspoon of chili powder".

    No need to bury it. It will still ferment just fine in the fridge. Koreans originally buried them because they didn't have any other methods available. Also, I've found that I preferred the fresher taste of new kimchi vs. a really long ferment, so there's another reason to keep an eye on it in the fridge.

    Good luck.

    1. i would agree that the korean pepper will prob get you closer to what we usually associate with kimchee, but cmon, any chile WILL work. anyway, i love kimchee and am entirely excited to hear how your work turns out. please let us now about ingredients and length of fermentation, etc.
      are you using vinegar? i think the use of vinegar is very much a modernday shortcut that should prob be avoided. oldskool recipes usually have no vinegar and no sugar for sure. theyre usually just cabbage (or any veg i guess), chile, salt, and maybe some fish sauve type liquid. any info is appreciated.

      by the way, my preferred brand is Sanja's. i can find it in most health food/small foodshops here in NYC. what do you like?

      1. I suggest that you wait until you have the correct pepper. Without it, your kimchi is just not going to turn out well. Here's a link to a souce online.


        And you don't need a kimchi refrigerator, unless you're making a huge quantity. Just put it in your regular refrigerator.

        Let us know how it turns out!

        1. One trick I learned while making it in the past is (since you don't want to put a lid on the container during fermentation) once your jar is full, fill a zip loc bag mostly full of water and nestle it in the mouth of the jar on top of everything. It'll keep the kimchi submerged, pretty much seal the top, but still let out air and pressure as the kimchi does its thing.

          1. I know the Korean pepper is hard to find*, but it really does make a difference, IMO. I would probably sub anchos and NOT roast them.

            I ferment mine in the basement, not in the fridge.

            * if you live anywhere close to Boston, they carry it at the Super 88.

            1. Thanks, folks.

              -The question about burying was because I really don't have the fridge space to spare for a large run, so am curious about using the earth as a 55 degree fridge. Initial fermentation will be in a cool room. For burial, I plan to use wide-mouth masons, metal capped, with a loose plastic grocery bag shroud just to keep off clinging dirt/mud from expected fermentation overflow. Has anyone tried the burial method?

              -the chili: I may need to get it online (thx Kater) but will first call my local Korean restaurants; they may even be able to source me some really fresh Napa cabbage.

              The fermentation: yes bobbyperu I plan to use the bag method for fermentation lock during initial fermentation, prior to transfer outside for storage aging.

              Fun story: I bought a bag 20 years ago in Korea, and remember it was shiny and frothy and loose. I was the only non-Korean on a tour bus from Pusan to Quong Ju the ancient capital, and when I mentioned to the tour guide that I'd like to get some kimchi chili powder she sent the huge bus down these tiny side streets to a small shop that ground it there... lots of fun... nice folks)

              1. anaheims are too bland. i just had some kimchi made w/ homegrown thai hot peppers and it wasn't all that spicy (maybe the plants were watered too much) and it was FABULOUS!

                1. (This is a copy and paste from an OP I made on the Mexican Kitchen Branch of Mexconnected.com. I moved it here because it is off-topic —Mexico— there.)

                  Making Kimchi or Sauerkraut in Mexico

                  I was delighted to find large, fresh Napa cabbages for sale at Wal Mart in Morelia on Thursday. I bought one, of almost 2 kgs, in order to make Korean-style kimchi.

                  Now, the dilemma is; how to wash the vegetable without destroying the beneficial bacteria which cause the desirable fermentation?
                  I'd made a couple of jars of cucumber pickles a month ago, but to do them, I washed the cukes under the tap water (suppposed to be potable, although we don't drink it unboliled) and put in the salt, spices and some vinegar. These pickles are fine and eating a few causes no dire effects.

                  Now, the thing with kimchi is that vinegar is not a traditional nor desirable ingredient. The cabbage is cleaned, cut up into lengths, salted, and in the recipe I have, covered with clean water. (Others just salt it, let it "sweat", and then the excess salt is rinsed off and squeezed out.)
                  Next, a zesty seasoning mixture of ground chiles, ginger, garlic and green onions, plus other condiments (eg; dried fish or shrimp, for those that like that sort of thing) are added, and the whole heap is left to mature.

                  It's really good, if you like highly seasoned condiments and pickles, although when consumed in large quantities will likely result in an internal purge.

                  My real question is: how safe will the salted, fermented, seasoned kimchi be without the usual disinfectant/MicroDyn wash?

                  I'll be keeping you posted on this, but I do plan to taste it gingerly.

                  Buen provecho,

                  This is the one I'm working with http://www.recipezaar.com/130619, but I've never tried it before. Some of the process is a bit different, like pouring cold water over the raw, salted cabbage in the early stages.
                  I'll be adding my own extra condiments.

                  "Cada loco con su tema."


                  (Later yet)...
                  So far, the situation looks grim. I see a reeking mess in our fridge in the near future.

                  Don't trust Internet recipes from untested sources!


                  And even later—today—

                  It's been 3 days now, and I just sampled a bit of kimchi from the fridge. It's actually pretty fair; needs more chiles and more fermentation. Definitely more garlic, and some green onion is called for.
                  I just started salted a cut up, 1 pound, long, red radish. I'll see how that goes.

                  (As this topic is way off from "The Mexican Kitchen", I'm going to move it to Chowhound.com. Probably to the Home Cooking Forum. You are all welcome to read it there, but you'd need to register in order to post and comment.

                  Buen provecho,

                  (I should mention that I'd had several replies on that forum, but I don't have permission to reproduce them here, so I have left them out.)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Anonimo

                    right now at the restaurant i work at theyre making a huge bunch of real sauer kraut. its the same as kimchi other than the spices, really. in that there're no quickening agents added like vinegars, sugars, etc. just cabbage and water and the natural product of that combination: fermentation. the flavor comes very much from the bacteria. and the salt, of course. ill try some once its aged enough and let you know.

                    1. re: ben61820

                      My kimchi is ready, and it's pretty tasty. I haven't eaten more than a cautious nibble.
                      Later on in the process, I added a long red radish, cut into strips, and more green onion.

                      The spicing I used was rather unorthodox, to say the least. It included various furakake rice seasonings as well as some Vietnamese Hue Soup seasoning.

                  2. I just made a batch of Kimchi yesterday. All recipes seem to be similar, except a few call for making a paste of rice or wheat flour to add the pepper and condiments in. Is this necessary? I used regular flour and it does thicken and stretch the paste. Now I wanna try it without the flour paste. I too, could not find Korean chili powder today, but what I bought looks similar, it's chinese chili powder, bright red. When I made it Saturday, I used 1/2 ceyenne, 1/2 paprika.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: taurus30

                      Adding flour is not needed for napa cabbage kimchi, but it is often used in types of radish kimchi.
                      The Chinese chili powder is probably closer to Korean than cayenne. The thing you want is pure chili powder with no additions (no garlic or other herbs/spices added).
                      You can also grind your own from dried red chili peppers (wear a surgical mask).
                      Here's another kimchi recipe to look at:

                    2. I know the purists say it HAS to be Korean chili powder, but finely ground Mexican 'chili arbol' comes mighty close - - - In fact., I'm looking for a Korean kim chee expert to see if he/she can tell the difference :).

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: RICKKELLEY

                        Agreed. I've made kimchee now a good handful of times, each time using a different mix of chilis. Only once did I have gochugaru, which is difficult to get where I am. Each batch has been a bit different, and each has been delicious and worthwhile. I've gotten especially tasty results (though a bit different from traditional kimchi) using decent amounts of ancho chili powder in the mix. And also the time I used ground dried Hungarian hot peppers from my garden.

                        Insisting it must be made with gochgaru is nice and respectful to Korean tradition, but to me it seems antithetical to the point of making kimchi in the first place.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Haven't Koreans been making kimchee for a lot longer than they have had chilies?

                          1. re: paulj

                            Nice point. I didn't even realize that. According to wikipedia, there are references to kimchi over 2000 years ago. This would be well before chili peppers made their way to Korea. Apparently, early versions were made of cabbage and beef stock (and presumably salt).

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              I've seen white kimchi in stores.

                      2. 1. Anaheim/New Mexicos are a good substitute for gochugaru. I would love to see how it comes out!

                        2. Toasting is not necessary, but maybe it'll make it extra tasty! Give it a try and let us know. :)

                        3. I can't imagine a meat grinder doing this right but hey it's worth a shot...I would probably go with a blender or food processor.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: joonjoon

                          OK, Joon. My kimchi is pretty basic - - Anaheim cabbage, garlic, chilis arbol, green onion, and a touch of honey to kick-off fermentation - - but that's how I like it. Tell me where to send it, and I'll send you a jar, along with some chili arbol, if you care to try it. It will cost you an honest review.

                          By the way, I tried a blender, and it didn't chop fine enough to make me happy. I ended up with a coffee bean grinder, which (depending on the grinder) will get you from powder to granular (about the size of medium ground pepper). rickkelle@gmail.com

                          Oh yes - - and "Viet Huong" Thai fish sauce