Whether you bury your kimchee in the backyard to cure, or just ferment it in a bowl in the fridge, fall is the season to put up your pickled cabbage. Why not make a shopping spree out of the deal with a bibimbap lunch thrown in?
Down at the KoMart (as the Korean supermarket at 1049 Gessner, just north of the Katy Freeway, is known) Korean families congregate every Saturday to combine produce shopping with a tasty Korean lunch.
There are a zillion recipes for kimchee available on the Internet, but one of the easiest I have ever seen appears in a cookbook called Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis (Clarkson Potter, $35). Among the 600 recipes in this cooking compendium, there are a half a dozen pickle recipes, including this one for refrigerator kimchee. Davis says he buys hot dogs from a vendor on Manhattan’s Lower East Side who tops them with spicy kimchee. -- Robb Walsh
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Kimchee (from Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis)
One half cup kosher salt One and a half pounds napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage) 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 1 large clove garlic 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes or to taste Quarter cup sugar
In a large bowl, dissolve the salt in about 6 cups of warm water and let cool to room temperature, Meanwhile, cut the cabbage leaves into 2 inch pieces. Place the cabbage in the salt solution, cover with an inverted plate to weigh it down, and let sit for about 3 hours at room temperature, being sure the cabbage stays submerged.
Drain the cabbage, rinse, and drain again. Return to the bowl. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic, red pepper, and sugar and toss to distribute the seasonings. Pack the leaves neatly into a sterilized glass quart jar, and top with any seasonings left in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for three to four days to ferment the kimchee before serving.