Kimchi is a spicy Korean pickle that is unbelievable easy to make and yields a fragrant and zesty dish that is great for your health.
You can make kimchi by fermenting any vegetable you like with ginger, hot pepper, garlic, and onion.
This special kimchi recipe uses earthy-flavored burdock root (called “gobo” in Japan), a deeply-nourishing plant that stimulates lymphatic and other glandular flows, cleansing the blood, and tonifying the organs of elimination. Rich in trace minerals, burdock is associated with stamina, longevity and sexual vitality.
Making your own kimchi is a fun and easy family project. Here’s how to do it:
1-2 daikon radishes
1 small burdock root
a few Jerusalem artichokes
a few small red radishes
1 small fresh horseradish root (or a tablespoon of prepared horseradish, without preservatives)
3 tablespoons (or more!) fresh grated gingerroot
3-4 cloves garlic (or more!)
3-4 hot red chilies (or more!), depending on how peppery-hot you like food, or any form of hot pepper, fresh, dried, or in a sauce (without chemical preservatives!)
1. Mix a brine of about 4 cups water and 3 tablespoons salt.
2. Slice daikons, burdock, turnip, Jerusalem artichokes, and carrots, and let them soak in the brine. If the roots are fresh and organic, leave the nutritious skins on. Slice the roots thin so the flavors will penetrate. I like to slice roots on a diagonal; you could also cut them into matchsticks. Leave the small red radishes whole, even with their greens attached, and soak them, too. Use a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged until soft, a few hours or overnight.
3. Prepare the spices: Grate the ginger; chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Experiment with quantities and don’t worry too much about them. Mix spices into a paste, adding grated horseradish.
4. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine. Taste vegetables for saltiness. You want them to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so. If they are too salty, rinse them. If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of salt and mix.
5. Mix the vegetables with the spice paste. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart jar. Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables. Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or with a zip-lock bag filled with some brine. Every day, use your (clean!) finger to push the vegetables back under the brine. Cover the jar to keep out dust and flies.
6. Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the kimchi every day. After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.
Adapted from Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Sandor Ellix Katz. Reprinted by permission of Chelsea Green.
Adapted from Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green, 2003).