Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kimchi

I saw kimchi at WinCo in Boise today and bought some. I've sampled a few unusual animals (warthog, otolan, fermented sea slug--best stored outdoors, conch penis, and animals I've known personally), but my unusual plant foods have been limited to palm wine, millet beer, and red fruits that looked good during the hungry season in Senegal. Kimchi was on my bucket list.

My kimchi is made of nappa cabbage, garlic, green onion, hot pepper, sugar, salt, paprika, and ginger. As promised, the cover was bulging when I pried off the shrink wrapped security ring.


Kimchi has a remarkable odor: although it was 9 hours since breakfast, lunch suddenly seemed optional. The contents behaved as directed and bubbled up to overflow and run onto the countertop.


I fished out some of the pieces of cabbage and found them disappointingly like cabbage with garlic, onion, and red pepper. I had bought the Mild kimchi; I'll try the Strong stuff next time. The cabbage was still delightfully crunchy, unlike the cabbage in my fridge.

The label warns me to keep my kimchi refrigerated. It's hard to imagine that it could spoil; perhaps the warning is to keep it from growing enough to take over the kitchen.

8 comments:

  1. In our family, we have a phrase: "in deep kimchi," meaning in big trouble. We're referring to the really hot stuff, which will not only turn your stomach, it'll also blow the top of your head off... It's a treat to read you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Susan,

    Thanks for the warning! I've only dipped my toe into kimchi so far, but I'll venture farther out into deeper kimchi soon.

    I'm following your mother's journey on your blog. I'm thinking of her and of you and hoping the journey is an easy one for both of you.

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've tried kimchi. I really have, but apparently I have too much German blood in my ancestry and am forever doomed to be a kraut eater.

    P.S. Fermenting your own kimchi or sauerkraut is not hard, if you're patient.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sarah,

    Oh yes; I hoped my kimchi would taste like sauerkraut!

    I'll have to search your blog to see if you've told us how to maker our own fermented foods.

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  5. MANY years ago, when I was married to my first husband, he raved about the kimchi he'd sampled while stationed in Korea. He talked endlessly about how absolutely revolting it smelled but that it tasted fabulous.

    I didn't have the opportunity to test his recommendations till about 10 years ago. There used to be a Korean restaurant next to the escalator downtown...next door to where Idaho Camera used to be...lots of used to be's! Anyway, that guy made kimchi out of everything. His specialty was Idaho Spud kimchi. As Bob had predicted, I loved the stuff, any and all forms of it. I didn't find that it smelled all that bad, but perhaps in the country of its origin, in the peasant villages where it is stored outside in a crock, I suppose it could have the potential to become pretty strong smelling.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my! Idaho Spud kimchi?! I need to learn much more about fermented Korean foods. I just Googled "potato kimchi" and found this:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/27/AR2005072700090.html

    My mouth is watering. Thank you all for helping me think more broadly about kimchi.

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not yet ready to try Kimchi even though I adore sauerkraut. I think the word "fermented" is holding me back. That and the "security ring" you mentioned. If a food needs a security ring, perhaps it should also come with a large Warning label and a gas mask?

    ReplyDelete
  8. JC,

    Oh, but fermented foods are fabulous! Cheese, bread, tofu, and yogurt all are the result of microbes working away to make delicious foods for us.

    One of my all time favorites is fermented seeds from Parkia biglobosa, an Old World tropical legume tree. Fermenting the seeds turns them from hard and inedible to soft, sticky, and spicy: just right to add zing to a bowl of Senegalese rice and fish. This page has photos of the tree, it's huge red flower clusters, which appear during the dry season, and the fermented seeds.
    http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Parkia%20biglobosa_En.htm

    And perhaps the security ring was to keep the contents safe from kimchi poachers?

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete