Mom Food from extended family members: this time, from Korean in-laws.
[If you’re visiting from SITS, welcome! And for those of you who don’t know what SITS is, it’s a blogger community (The Secret’s In The Support!) where I love to hang out and schmooze with other bloggers. Some of them may be visiting today. Be nice. Or if you can’t be nice, be funny and interesting and maybe they won’t notice.]
[OPMF = Other People’s Mom Food]
Remember the other day when I told you about my brother Rick and the Caesar salad he taught me to make? Well, that got me thinking about his family and what Mom Foods we’ve gotten from his wife’s side of the family.
Debbie, who we all love, is a wonderful sister-in-law to have. Her mother Bonnie came from Korea, so in the twenty or so years since my brother and she got together, her side of the family has added a couple of Korean Mom Foods to our repertoire around here. The carnivores among us love nothing better than Bonnie’s Korean ribs (galbi).
[Photo courtesy of Selena N. B. H.]
But me? I could eat her kimchi all day and half the night.
A week or two ago, I did a photo shoot at our local Korean grocery store (for Oakland Magazine — I’ll let you know when the article comes out), and I decided I needed to make kimchi. Goodness knows we spend enough money on the stuff at the store; why not try my own hand at it? I bought a nice container to ferment the stuff in, a big head of napa cabbage, a bucket of gochujang (red pepper paste), and I was off!
Homemade kimchi is a thing of delightment. I have never had store-bought that could touch Bonnie’s, and I probably will never make homemade that’s as good, but I finally decided to give it a shot. It was MUCH easier than I expected, and not fussy at all. I used Closet Cooking’s recipe as a starting point, but I had gochujang rather than gochugaru (red pepper flakes), so I hunted around the web and decided to use about 6 tablespoons of the paste in place of the cup of flakes. It might not be spicy enough for some people, but it was perfect for us. A little too salty, but I gathered from reading some recipes online that it will be less salty if instead of salting it directly next time, I soak it in salty water. We’ll see.
Here’s the cabbage before salting:
And here’s the same amount of cabbage after adding salt and time (and then rinsing/draining):
Mix it all together:
We left it out for about two and a half days to ferment, then stuck it in the fridge while we were out of town for a week. It was perfect when we opened it, minus the slightly too salty thing.
The joy of this for us is the almost carbonated sizzle you get from a newly opened batch of the stuff. It feels alive or something. This batch had that tingly feeling, and while it wasn’t nearly as good as Bonnie’s, it brought me some of that Mom Food joy, even though her kimchi is now 500 miles away, where I can’t get to it.
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