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Author Notes: Kimchi is Korea’s national dish. It is a fermented vegetable condiment – mainly using Napa cabbage – combined with a variety of seasonings such as Gochugaru, or Korean red pepper powder, garlic, ginger etc., There are over a thousand varieties of Kimchi in Korea, and they are categorized in terms of geographical locations, seasons, and temperature differences. For example, the Kimchi found in the Northern parts of Korea tends to have less salt and spice, and is way more watery in consistency.
Making Kimchi follows the science (and art, I’m told) of lacto-fermentation, whereby the zucchini is first tossed in coarse salt for 1 – 2 hours to kill any harmful bacteria, before it is combined with the seasonings. For the uninitiated, this may sound like some major scientific procedure, but I assure you that it’s no more than some chopping and rinsing action.
While purists claim that traditional Kimchi must include some sort of a seafood element – like shrimp paste or fish sauce – others completely frown upon the idea. Some have daikon radishes and carrots in their mix, while others don’t. The truth is, there is no one way of making Kimchi. There is only your way. Taste as you go as the seasonings are quite potent (esp the Gochujang paste – love this stuff), but other than that, you’re good to follow your own adventure. More than the sum of its parts, this simple Kimchi is both unusual and delicious! —Kirthana | Theblurrylime
Makes: 3 cups
large zucchinis, cut lengthwise into 3” batons
stems of spring onions, cut into 2” batons
large garlic cloves, minced
piece of ginger, minced
tablespoons Korean Gochujang paste
teaspoon fish sauce
tablespoon Gochugaru (chilli powder is a good substitute)
cup white rice vinegar
tablespoons coarse salt
- Toss the zucchini slices in 3 tablespoons of coarse salt, combine well, and set aside for 1 – 2 hours. Tip out the slices and the salty juices that will have collected into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Taste a piece and make sure it’s not too salty. If it is, rinse until it tastes right to you.
- In another bowl, mix together the minced garlic, ginger, fish sauce, Gochujang paste, chilli powder, sugar, and rice vinegar.
- Add the zucchini in handfuls to the marinade mixture, making sure to squeeze out the excess liquid before each addition. Toss in the spring onions.
- Store in an air-tight glass jar and let stand in room temperature for 2 – 3 days. Shake the jar every day to make sure they are completely submerged in the briny liquid. When the Kimchi tastes pickled enough for your liking, refrigerate.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Lettuce-Free Salad
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Savory (Winter) Squash Recipe