Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kimchi 3

Third time is the charm, right.  My first Kimchi was way too hot, and garlicy.  The second Kimchi I took care not to put too many chiles and garlic in it, and it was better, but still way too hot and garlicy.  I had also overlooked the use of Ginger in the first two attempts.  So, now, I have been contemplating a new batch for a while, and I decided to use a lot more Chile, but a mild Chile.  There are four components to the Kimchi sauce, Chile, Garlic, Ginger, and Fish Sauce.  They should all be in proper proportion so that you can taste all the components, without one of them overpowering the others.
First I prepared the Napa Cabbage by rough cutting up a whole head, and then brined it in five percent salinity solution.  In the Brine is where the fermentation process begins.  I let the Cabbage brine at room temperature for three days.  During this time you will see evidence of the fermentation process as Carbon Dioxide bubbles will form amongst the Cabbage leaves.  If you compress the mass of Cabbage in the Brine you will see these bubbles fizz up around the Cabbage.  Now the Cabbage is ready and we'll start the Kimchi sauce.
The Brine for the Kimchi contains three tablespoons of Sea Salt, in a quart of Vitalized Water, to form a five percent salinity solution.  We will use some of this Brine in the sauce making.  We will also use four ounces of mild New Mexico Chiles, fresh Garlic, half a white Onion, a quarter cup of Fish Sauce, and about a cup of the Brine.
I'm going to steam the Chiles for about 30 minutes to make them more pliable, and to bring out the flavor.
While the Chilies are steaming I'll peel the Ginger, Garlic, and Onion.
Next we'll drain the Brine out of the Cabbage, reserving it for later.  The Chiles are done steaming.
I grated a couple nubs of the Ginger, and its a about three tablespoons.  The Garlic is rough chopped because it will be going into the food processor with the Chiles.  The white Onion is just sliced, and will go straight into the Cabbage with the Ginger.  The Chiles get their stems and most of the seeds removed.  These are mild Chiles, so you don't really need to worry about removing the heat, I just don't want too many seeds.
The Chiles, and the Garlic go into the Food Processor, along with a quarter cup of Fish Sauce, and a cup of Brine.  I started with a quarter cup of Brine, but needed more liquid until I could get the machine to process correctly.  I processed the mixture until it was mostly smooth, with some small pieces left.
Get the biggest mixing bowl you own for this part.  Add the Cabbage first.
Add the Onion, and the Ginger to the Cabbage and mix it up really good.
Next, add the Chile, Garlic, Fish Sauce mixture, put on some vinyl gloves, and mix well...
At this point the Kimchi is finished, and is edible, but its not going to be right for a few days.  It will take a while for the flavors to meld, and fermentation to start up again.  You can speed up the process by letting the Kimchi sit at room temperature for some time, but not more than 8 hours.  Store the Kimchi in its storage vessel during fermentation.  After the fermentation starts again store the Kimchi in the refrigerator.  It will keep fermenting, but at a slower pace.  Kimchi lasts a long time in the refrigerator, like pickles.

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