Kimchi-inspired Pickle

FYI, I am going to give you some background first, so if you want to skip to the recipe part, be my guest … La receta también la escribiré en español para aquellos que quieran intentarlo 🙂

I must start by saying that I haven’t tried kimchi yet. The closest I’ve gotten is kimchi ramen (reeeeaaaallly good, by the way). I don’t live in an area where Korean cuisine, people or culture is very prevalent. In fact, I don’t think any Koreans live in my metropolitan area. Most of the Koreans in Chile are located in the capital, Santiago. And, I wasn’t even aware of this until I started studying Korean. This means that I don’t have access to the more traditional Korean ingredients that I need. So, I tend to make things that I can easy get in the grocery store or dried fruits (frutos secos) store.

Kimchi – traditional kimchi – is something that requires a variety of ingredients that I can’t get close to home, namely red pepper flakes and paste, Korean radish and Napa cabbage. However, I can get my hands on fish sauce, garlic, ginger, green onions, carrots and regular Western cabbage. My first with “faux kimchi” was a bust. But, then I thought about just making pickled cabbage. My inspiration: Maangchi’s Emergency Kimchi. It’s a much more trimmed down version of  baechu kimchi (배추 김치). I omitted the spicy stuff, and I had the basis for my pickling liquid! Awesome sauce, literally!

Well, enough tongue wagging! Let’s get to the recipe.

RECIPE/RECETA

Veggie mix/Mezcla de verduras

Kimchi-inspired Pickle

  • Cabbage (any kind you want)/Repollo
  • Carrots /Zanahorias 
  • Cauliflower/Coliflor
  • 2 Small or pearl onions /2 Cebollas perlas o normales, pero chicas

The amount of cabbage+carrots+cauliflower should make about 2 lbs total. This means that the ratio cabbage-carrot-cauliflower is up to you. / La cantidad en peso del repollo+zanahorias+coliflor debe ser 1 kilo. Por lo tanto, el porcentage de cada verdura depende de su gusto.

Salting the veggies / Amortiguar las verduras

  • 1/4 cup of salt or more/ 1/4 taza de sal ó más

Pickling liquid / Líquido para encurtir

  • 1 tbsp sugar / 1 cucharada de azucar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce / 1/4 taza de salsa de pescado (son anchoas fermentadas)
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic / 1/4 taza de ajo picado fino
  • 1 spring onion chopped finely / 1 cebollín cortado fino
  • 1/2 – 1 ramen flavoring pack (optional) / 1/2 ó 1 paquete de saborizante de ramen (optional)

PREPARATION / PREPARACIÓN

Slice all of the veggies, except for the onions, into thin strips. This will help them wilt during the salting process. Cut the onions into quarters. If they are pearl onions, they can be left whole. Place the veggie mix into a large bowl. Sprinkle salt liberally over the vegetables. Most of this salt will be washed away, so don’t be too worried about the amount. It takes about one hour for the vegetables to wilt enough to be “squeezable” or pliable. Meanwhile, prepare the pickling liquid.

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Set aside.

Once the vegetables are wilted, rinse them thoroughly to remove most if not all of the salt. Squeeze out as much water as you can and place them in a large bowl. Add the pickling liquid and stir to make sure that it is evenly distributed. Now, PACK the vegetables into a glass jar. Push down to make sure that there is no air inside of the jar. You will be amazed at just how much you can get into the jar. If it doesn’t seem to fit, it will by the next day. Just put the remaining vegetables in a small container in the mean time.

Now, you have to let it ferment. This can take one day or several days depending on your room temperature. My second batch took less than a day. But, this one is not yet fermenting. At the very least, leave the pickle outside, on the counter, for one day. Then, you can put it in the refrigerator so that it can keep fermenting. It will be fermented when it no longer tastes salty but sour. You might also see bubbles (like champagne) floating to the top.  You can still eat it fresh. It will taste very good either way.

So, here’s a caveat. When you open it, it will have a STRONG garlic smell. REALLY. Just take that into consideration. You can eat it with anything really. I like it with rice and with ramen. I guess anything you put pickles with would taste great. You can also experiment with different veggies, even chilies, and by cutting the veggies into different shapes. It’s really all up to you.

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Cortar el repollo, zanahoria y coliflor en tiras delgadas para que se amortiguen más rapidamente. Cortar las cebollas en cuartos. Si son cebollas perlas, no será necesario. Colocar verduras en un bol grande. Agregar la sal a la mezcla de verduras. (No se preocupen por la cantidad ya que se lavaran las verduras para quitarles la sal.) Esperar 1 hora. Las verduras deben estar maleables, lo suficiente para “esprimirlas”. Mientras tanto, preparar el liquido para encurtir.

En un pequeño bol, mezclar todos los ingredientes y dejar a un lado.

Una vez que se hayan amortiguado las verduras, lavarlos completamente. Apretarlos para quitarles todo el agua y devolverlos al bol. Agregar el líquido para encurtir y mezclar para cubrir todas las verduras. Ahora, introducir a un recipiente de vidrio. Luego de cada capa, aplastar bien para remover todo el aire. Si sobran verduras, dejarlas en un recipiente más pequeño con tapa. El día siguiente verán que sí podrán colocarle esta pequeña cantidad en el primer envase. 

Ahora es tiempo de la fermentación. Este proceso se puede demorar un día o varios días. Todo dependerá de la temperatura de ambiente. No se debe refrigerar el curtido por al menos un día para iniciar el proceso de fermentación. Luego se puede refrigerar. Sabrán que se está fermentado porque el sabor será acido y no salado. También, podrán ver pequeñas burbujas subiendo a la superficie. Este curtido también se puede comer sin fermentar. En este caso, será como una especie de ensalada.

Una advertencia: el curtido tiene un FUERTE olor a ajo. EN SERIO. Tomen esto en consideración cuando abran el recipiente. Se puede comer con lo que quieran. A mi me gusta con arroz y con ramen (nomnom!). Y, pueden experimentar con otras verduras, incluso ají, o cortando las verduras de otras maneras. Todo depende de sus gustos.

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Well, I hope you try it, and I really hope you like it. Let me know either way! Oh, and if there are any mistakes or confusing instructions, let me know, too./ Espero que lo intenten hacer y que les guste. Me cuentan como les va! Ah, y si se topan con algún error ó indicación confusa, me lo hacen saber, por fa.

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