With mixed feelings about my racial identity and desperate for new cabbage recipes, I finally decided to do it. I made my own kimchi. The fiery hot, ubiquitous but shrouded in mystery, korean version of saurkraut. If nothing else I have something interesting to write about.
After reading many recipes I realized it's not that hard. I had images of secret ingredients guarded by Tibetan monks or having to store it in a cave for forty days and forty nights while it magically turned into kimchi. Well the secret is out. Wash cabbage. Pour some chili paste on it. Store in jar until ready to eat.
Here is a pretty standard recipe that I used. The hardest part was chopping and soaking the cabbage in salt water, probably because I didn't have a big enough container so my tiny kitchen was filled with various size vessels overflowing with salt water and cabbage. It only added to the feeling that this was a giant science experiment bound to go wrong. What I didn't understand was how something could be pickled without the use of vinegar or acid. Well it took about a week to find out that yes, it tasted like cabbage doused in hot chili paste. I should note that I used sambal, which probably isn't traditional but it did the trick.
It wasn't bad. Soaking it in salt water does keep the cabbage somewhat crunchy which I like, and the addition of ginger and honey gives it nice flavor. Mine probably could have used less sambal and more ginger and honey. As expected I ended up with a giant jar of kimchi. Sorry to all my co-workers who I unloaded on - with full warning that this stuff could probably strip paint off your car or clear your sinuses up in a pinch. If no one eats it I won't be offended.