Yet another snowstorm is hitting NYC as we speak, it's been such a long winter...the best way to counter more snow, slush & cold? The most obvious would be to book the next flight to anywhere in the Caribbean or Mexico but if that's not happening anytime soon, I say- bring the heat to the kitchen & fortify yourself from the cold with some vegan kimchi!I live for the tangy, spicy fermented Korean veggie goodness that is kimchi. If you've never had kimchi before, it's similar to sauerkraut but even yummier. It's a perfect condiment for all meals year round, but especially if you get those winter blues. The tanginess wakes up your hibernating tastebuds! And did I mention that it's good for you too? Yep, the good bacteria in live cultured foods such as kimchi, boosts the immune system. The fermentation process also boosts the vitamins & minerals of the vegetables being cultured- kimchi being a great source of B12 vitamins. Homemade kimchi is like a fun magic trick that's delicious & nutritious. You can buy kimchi in stores, but many of them are not vegan since they contain anchovies. Honestly, it's so easy & inexpensive & fun to make, it's a perfect snow day activity!
I veganized & modified this recipe:
MAKE AHEAD: The vegetables need to soak in saltwater for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight (I soaked napa for 4.5hrs-it depends on your veggies/cut, thickly cut daikon, should soak longer.)
Makes about 2 quarts
1/2 cup sea or kosher salt
1 cup warm water
1 medium head Napa cabbage
1 Asian radish (nu or daikon) - (optional, if you don't like daikon, add more cabbage)
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2-inch piece peeled ginger root, minced (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoons soy sauce
6 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
Leaves of 1 bunch mustard greens, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)/ (optional)
3 tablespoons coarsely ground Korean chili powder/ you can get this at asian food market
1 teaspoon sugar or agave (option, you can also add 1/2 apple or asian pear, if so cut back on sugar- but it is the sugar/fruit sugar that starts the process, so you do need some kind of sweetener.)
Dissolve the salt in the water in a liquid measuring cup.
Rinse the leaves of the cabbage and cut into 2-inch lengths (12 to 14 cups). Peel the Asian radish (if using) and cut into quarters, then cut into 1/2-inch slices.
Combine the cabbage and radish (if using) in a large bowl and pour the saltwater over them. Soak for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
Drain the soaked vegetables in a colander, squeezing out as much water as possible. Place the vegetables in a large bowl.
Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce in a food processor or blender; process until finely minced. (I just combined everything together with rubber gloves on- don't rub your eyes!)
Add the scallions, mustard greens, garlic-ginger mixture, chili powder and sugar; toss to coat evenly. (If you use your hands, wear food-safe gloves; the chili might sting or stain your hands.) The mixture will have the consistency of a well-dressed salad.
Pack tightly into glass jars or a large food-safe plastic container- glass is preferable. If there's any liquid leftover, pour into jar so that there are no air pockets. Close the lid, but don't make it too tight because as the vegetables ferment, there may be some leakage. Leave the jar/jars out on the kitchen counter, maybe with a towel underneath, in case it leaks. The kimchi will be ready in 2 to 3 days and then it should be stored in the refrigerator. It will grow increasingly pungent as it sits. It is ideal after about 2 weeks and best eaten within a month.
Once you start getting a feel for making kimchi, you can experiment with different vegetables & fruits!
Not only is kimchi a delicious condiment for Tofurkey sanwiches & such, you can also make an easy Korean savory pancake called bin dae duk with kimchi. I made mine with chickpea flour, maitake mushrooms, scallions & kimchi.
Have I made a convincing argument for kimchi yet? What's your favorite fermented food?