Let me introduce you to one of my favorite condiments of all time; Kimchi.
It's spicy, tangy and due to the lactobacillus bacteria that develops during the fermentation period, it's actually very good for you. That lactobacillus is the same belly-busting beneficial bacteria found in yogurt and some even say kimchi has cancer killing properties. It's pretty much a super(hero)food, but most importantly it tastes friggin' awesome and you can put it on pretty much anything, especially these Korean Style Pork Ribs.
Sort of like sauerkraut's long lost (spicer) cousin, kimchi is most commonly made from softer, leafier Chinese or Napa cabbage because it's cheap, readily available and packed full of vitamins and minerals. However, you can turn virtually any kind of vegetable into kimchi, as long as the basic flavors are present (chili, garlic, ginger) you're good. Kimchi doesn't even have to be fermented, it is equally good, albeit very different in flavor, when it's freshly made as it is after it has sat for a month.
Kimchi is also a great way to preserve extra veggies when you go a little overboard at the market. Try this basic recipe first, then you can start to get creative and substitute other vegetables like cauliflower, breakfast radishes, broccoli, carrots, or asparagus as the main ingredient. Don't forget to leave me a comment to let me know how it turned out!
1 head Chinese or Napa cabbage
1 carrot, julienned
1 radish, julienned - daikon is most popular, but I used watermelon radish because that's what I had on hand
1 bunch scallion, cut into 1 inch sections
8 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 large thumb of ginger, minced
Salt Water Brine
4 L water
1 1/2 C kosher salt
1/3 C water
1/3 C gochujang (korean chili paste)
1 apple, cored and cubed
2 Tbsp of fish sauce (omit for vegetarian/vegan version)
1 Tbsp sambal oelek (or more if you like to feel the heat!)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
-Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise and soak in salt water brine for 2 hours
-Cut the rest of your vegetables and set aside
-In a blender mix water, gochujang, fish sauce, apple cubes, sambal, sugar and salt
-Blend until smooth paste forms, set aside
-After 2 hours, remove cabbage from brine and squeeze any excess water out
-Remove core and cut into 1 inch squares
-Mix cabbage with carrot, radish, scallion, ginger & garlic
-Pour the paste overtop of the vegetables and mix well with your hands, squeezing the vegetables to help break them down as you go
-Transfer to a container and pack tight to remove air bubbles
-Let the kimchi sit at room temperature for 24 hours to ferment. If you enjoy the tangy flavor developed during the fermentation period you can leave it for an extra 24 hours to intensify what I call "The Funk"
-After fermentation transfer the kimchi to the fridge to cool. It can be enjoyed right away but for best flavor allow it to sit and mature for 2 weeks
-Will last 6 months or more when refrigerated
Yields approxametly 1 1/2 one quart jars