Okay, since I moved away from LA I no longer have a choice amongst 20 some different varieties of kimchi at HMart and Marukai. So I've embarked on learning to make my own. And then I came across this in Lucky Peach #2; David Chang's recipe for paechu kimchi calls for 1 heaping tablespoon of brine shrimp. Is this some hipster joke or is he serious? Brine shrimp might be more familiar to you as "sea monkeys". They are also used to feed aquarium fish. This being Lucky Peach I'm not sure if this is a prank recipe.

  • Posted by: pierino
  • April 13, 2012


melissav April 26, 2012
I made Chang's kimchi a few months ago and couldn't find brine shrimp anywhere down here in South Florida so I used some tiny dried shrimp chopped up. I'm sure it is not the same but it turned out delicious.
petitbleu April 24, 2012
We tried both the white and red kimchi recipes in Lucky Peach, and they were both very good...after about 2 months in the fridge. However, I was disappointed that his recipes were not fermented (sure, they ferment after being in the fridge for a while, but the process of fermentation is not part of the recipe). If you're familiar with Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, his kimchi recipe is freaking amazing. Smelly and pungent and wonderful. The process begins with fermentation, and after a few weeks you have a lovely, spicy pickle. His recipes tend to be more free-form (for instance, he basically tells you to put whatever vegetables you want in the kimchi), but if you take that principle and apply it to the usual kimchi ingredients, you'll have something decidedly worth eating.
I found Chang's kimchi to be overly sweet at first, much improved over a few months. Katz's kimchi is still my favorite.
Brain H. April 14, 2012
I agree with thirschfeld. In his book Momofuku, he talks about jarred salted shrimp as a way to kick-start the fermentation process. He says raw oysters are common, as are squid, shrimp or yellow croaker. He likes to use shrimp because it makes the kimchee sweet. A little goes a long way!
I'd love to know how your kimchee turns out....I am also embarking on a kimchee project this spring.
thirschfeld April 14, 2012
Chang's kimchi is great, unbelievably good and at all the different stages, or ages, but I like it best young and the kimchi stew is also amazing and really simple if you have everything on hand in the larder or freezer. I agree Pierino there aren't enough Korean cookbooks out there. Maybe they all went up with that ill fated rocket. I think that is about to change seems lots of them are in the pipeline of the publishers from what I am seeing. Personally I can't get enough of good Korean food.
thirschfeld April 14, 2012
Pierino in Momofuku he uses brine shrimp too. I get them at the local Asian grocery. They come in a jar, have liquid and are salted and fermented. Think of them as the starter for your kimchi. I like Chang's recipe very much but also find it sweet. I found another recipe by Georges Vongrichten's wife in her book on Korean food and it is also excellent.
pierino April 14, 2012
Thanks Tom, your description is ultimately what (with the help of everyone here) I finally figured out was the right answer. Jarred in liquid does make more sense than dried ones. I was indeed curious about what got the fermentation process going. My confusion came from the fact that Chang did use the term brine shrimp in Lucky Peach. I do have Marja Vongrichten's book on hand so I'll look at her recipes as well. There are actually very few books out there on Korean cooking.
pierino April 14, 2012
Thanks for the input everyone. I'm not at squemish about eating dried fish (I eat everything). What made me ask the question is that when I searched on line for sources everything I came up with was aquarium supply. Chang's recipe does call for fish sauce as well. But he's the type of chef who just might plant a joke in a hipster publication like Lucky Peach. I guess I'll have to search Korea Town when I'm back down in LA in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile I do have small dried shrimp from Japan so maybe that will work.
BoulderGalinTokyo April 24, 2012
The dried ones from Japan are great with other flavors in your okonomiya! But I wouldn't suggest kinchi.
inpatskitchen April 14, 2012
Do you think he may be referring to "salt brined shrimp"? Here's a demo I found of his:
pierino April 14, 2012
Thanks for this link. I will definitely check this out.
pierino April 14, 2012
It does appear that "salt brined shrimp" is what I'm looking for and now I know where to find it. What threw me off was that in Lucky Peach he did use the term "brine shrimp" and right away I'm thinking "sea monkeys?" Like from my childhood...
amysarah April 14, 2012
Dried shrimp are pretty common in Korean cooking, and in various Asian chili pastes, etc. Could that be what Chang is referring to? (I've never seen it referred to as 'brine' shrimp, but maybe it sometimes is?)
susan G. April 14, 2012
I wonder if the brine shrimp are a shortcut for making it smell like kimchi without the appropriate time for culturing. Mrs. Vongderichtin has a cookbook -- she is Korean, and gives several recipes for it. Compare with others; use the LP recipe but leave the bs out, or use your powers of discovery and history to find the truth...I'm sure you can access many other, authentic, kimchi recipes.
pierino April 14, 2012
Yes, I do have that book, THE KIMCHI CHRONICLES. I've been using that in my research as well. Over the last few years I've become kind of obsessed with Korean food and so I've been trying to learn as much as I can. Korean could be the next culinary wave. Once again I'm chasing the zeitgeist.
bigpan April 14, 2012
For me, kimchi and brine shrimp are two separate items. Perhaps it is because where I live I get the best of all Asian foods. Kimchi for me if mostly spivey cabbage that I mostly chop fine to add as a spice and brined shrimp is quite spicy and I use sparingly as an additive to Asian dishes. Also nice on a cracker as a canapé.
PhillipBrandon April 13, 2012
Brine shrimp are a pretty common ingredient in Kimchi, so I would assume this is not a "prank recipe" (do people really post those?)
If you're uncomfortable with the idea, I would recommend some anchovy fish sauce as a suitable substitute.
SKK April 13, 2012
Pierino, my experience with this question is akin to being in a no win pop quiz. Not willing to pay the price for Lucky Peach, and have lived next door to people who made kimchi all the time I am left with kimchi and smelly. Brine shrimp are the same as bait shrimp to me. Littlest catching bigger and everything smells.

Many people use fish sauce in kimchi and it is more expensive than what we use to feed aquarium fish.

My heritage is german, so was raised on sauerkraut. Kimchi is the same kind of thing except for the smelly fish and when I first had it in Korea, was buried in the ground.

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