Don’t make a fuss!
Just make kimchi!
I’d been contemplating a recipe for a veggie pickle utilizing coriander seeds and other lovely aromatics from one of those Martha Stewart mags, but I couldn’t muster all the ingredients, y’all.
So not to slack off completely, I made a Korean version (because I had all the ingredients: garlic, ginger, sugar, and salt) and it was much success!
What some non-Koreans may not know is that there are about 200 hundred types of kimchi out there with the most common being the cabbage and radish versions put out on the table at your local Korean restaurants. Though according to one writer for the Observer, in a rather snarky piece, all these varietals were too much for her to bear. But like many foods out there––scrapple and Vegemite coming immediately to mind––kimchi is an acquired taste and doesn’t have to be for everybody. Just for those of us who appreciate its spicy, sour, salty, bitter, and sweet qualities.
I made a ‘water’ version (some Koreans call it ‘white’ for its lack of red pepper) for the Old Ladies during our Korean New Year soiree. It accompanied our various traditional Korean dishes in a tart yet respectful manner with its sturdy crunch and bite of ginger. I’m sure you could acquire a taste for this.
Remember, kimchi can be simple: just pick your vegetable, prep your brine, and get ready to pickle!
Radish water kimchi (동치미)
1 daikon, medium or 3-4 small Korean radishes with their greens
4-5 tbsp sugar
4-5 tbsp salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 medium ginger chunk, peeled and sliced
2-3 cups of water (enough to cover the radishes)
1. Scrub your radish clean. Peel off any tough spots. Slice into 2 inch rectangular or wedge-shaped pieces. If you’re using the small radishes, leave whole (cut the thick ones in half) and remove any yellowed leaves off the green tops. Make sure to rinse the greens of any grit. Set aside.
2. Mix together the salt and sugar and divide into two portions. Set aside one portion for Step 4. Place a layer of radish in a jar and sprinkle with the salt and sugar mixture, repeat until all the radish has been layered.
3. Top with ginger and garlic slices. Close the lid and let stand for a full day at room temperature.
4. 24 hours later, boil about 2-3 cups of water with the remaining salt and sugar mixture. Let cool until the liquid is still quite warm and pour over the radishes. Let ferment at room temperature for 1 to 2 days and then store in the fridge.
5. You can pick out the ginger and garlic before serving, or leave them in but let guests know they’re in there. The green tops can be cut to bite size before serving.