Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Smoky Southern Style Kimchi w/ Turnip Greens and Turnips

 Homemade 🥬 Kimchi, just finished, ready for fermentation

 Get ready for a fantastic take on a Korean staple, Kimchi, or Baechu (🥬) Kimchi, with a Southern American 'swang' that's hard to deny.  Kimchi, a.k.a. kimchee or gimchi, which loosely translates as "soaked" or "brined" vegetables is a condiment/ side dish made ubiquitously in Korea and traditionally with Napa cabbage, though it can be made with multitudes of other vegetables.  After preparation, it can technically be consumed immediately, but the unique and amazing flavor profile is achieved over the next few days. Traditional Baechu(🥬)  is stored in clay pots called Onggi, beneath the ground, in Korea.  There is even communal events where the people come together and make mass amounts of this savory commodity for the whole village, to last for subsequent months thereafter, to be served daily and potentially with every meal! 

The vegetables undergo a process of fermentation, of which there are 3 types: acetic acid, alcohol and lactic acid or lacto-fermentation (this applies to Kimchi) transforming them into a tender crunchy funky delicious accoutrement, full of Umami flavor and  probiotics or 'Good Bacteria', plus a wave of Vitamins, including A , C and B12.  Part of the beauty of prepared Kimchi is that it can potentially last for months, under refrigeration, gaining more flavor and depth as the days progress. Kimchi is full of micronutrients or polyphenols, perfect for body positive results and balance for the G.I. tract.  Earliest  records of Kimchi date back 4000 years, possibly earlier.  

Korean Chili pepper flakes are integral in the preparation of Kimchi.  They facilitate preservation and the environment needed to decimate growth of the bad bacteria and foster the growth of lactobacillus, which in turn is where the fermentation is made possible.  The peppers were a part of the 'New World' spices, making its way to Southeast Asia, by way of the Portuguese, with origins in Mexico, more than 6500 years ago.  This was a part of the booming Spice Trade that spread brilliant color, flavors and a wealth of melding of cultures along with it.  

The Southern American representation is from fresh Turnip Greens, Turnip, liquid Hickory smoke and Gourmet Collard Greens Seasoning, put out by "Spice King".  Save for a few staples in making Kimchi, you are at liberty to design this magnificent dish to suit your personal palate, especially in regard to its heat index.  For this recipe, I use 1 1/2 cups of Gochugaro or chili pepper flakes for a very hot result.  You may dial it down of course.
My kids are split on how they feel about Kimchi.  I discovered its glorious wonder about 3 years ago, though I'd read about it many times over and have been purchasing it since then. My youngest, 14, is definitely an adventurous one, like myself, and she enjoys it alongside me, sometimes as is, other times with our noodle bowls or rice dishes.  My oldest Genesis, 16, is too taken by the smell to even attempt trying it.  Anytime I open the packaging or jars, she is well aware, even when not in the kitchen with me, I'll hear a voice from out of nowhere say "Mom, did you open that Kimchi!?" It does no good to tell her No, because its unmistakable sweet funk cannot be easily forgotten.  I place this gem in the same culinary category as per smell, with my beloved Buckwheat Honey.  


Finished Kimchi in tradtional whole leaf form, served with Forbidden /Jasmine Rice Blend, Cinnamon Apples and Fried Chicken Wings.

4 lbs. Napa cabbage and 2 1/2 lb. Turnip Greens with Stems.

Napa Cabbage and Turnip Greens after salt treatment, 1/2 c. Kosher, stay away from iodized salt, as it is designed to inhibit bacteria growth. It is important to apply salt bt each and every leaf per segment and brined anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.

I used this as the base of my Porridge bc it contains all the ingredients to feed my bacteria and Umami presence.

Fermented shrimp is Common, I chose this...

I minced and gently heated 1/2 c. seasoned squid, cooled before adding to Porridge.

The finished porridge contains 2 tbsp. rice flour, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 1/2 c. sweet onion and 1/2 c. garlic cloves and a quarter sized knob of ginger, the last 3 ingredients are pureed together.

Smoky Southern Style Kimchi w/ Turnip Greens and Turnips