By Priya Bhandari and Catherine Horng and Recipe by Marla Munkh-Achit
As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, what better way to warm yourself up with some delicious homemade kimchi. For those of you who aren’t familiar, kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, often served as a side dish accompanying any meal. It is made by salting and fermenting vegetables, most typically napa cabbage, with various seasonings including gochugaru, spring onions, garlic, and ginger. It’s crunchy, it’s sour, and it’s spicy– what more could you ask for on a chilly evening?
Though it is traditionally fermented in large clay vessels stored underground, it can just as easily be made at home in your very own kitchen! First you salt your napa cabbage and leave it overnight. The next day, make your paste, add the seasonings, mix it with the cabbage, and now all you have to do is exercise a little patience and let it ferment. The longer you let it ferment, the punchier it gets. While the process does require a little bit of prep work beforehand, much of the time is just spent waiting for the salting and fermenting process and you’ll soon be rewarded with a simple spicy, tangy kimchi.
Now that you have your homemade kimchi, there’s a myriad of different dishes you can now make with it. You can go traditional with a hot steaming pot of kimchi jjigae, a Korean stew made of vegetables, broth, and, you guessed it, kimchi. You could also spice it up by throwing it into a hot melty grilled cheese. Personally, my favorite way to enjoy kimchi is just on top of a fresh bowl of steamed rice and a crispy fried egg.