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« Note to Contributors | Main | Korean Mother Sauces and Stocks by Ji-Young Park »

November 19, 2005

Baechue Tong Kimchi (Whole Cabbage Kimchi) by Ji Young Park

P1010052www.bookofraiforum.com

discuss culture and cuisine.

Anyone who has ever read a Korean tourist brochure knows that kimchi connects the Korean people to our ancestors, our land, our children, our culture, our sense of identity and past struggles for survival during the bitter cold winter months.

To say that kimchi is a cultural icon to Koreans is a bit of an understatement. It might not be an exaggeration to say that kimchi is a part of The Korean cosmos.

I can't find the source of this quote, "As one eats kimchi, one eats the universe, and in so doing becomes part of the universe and the universe becomes a part of man."

Kimchi is also touted as a cure-all, mostly coming from Korean sources. Food writers have waxed poetic about the health benefits which sometimes include elaborate charts. Lots of energy and money are spent on scientific studies about kimchi. Most recently bird flu, before that SARS. I haven't read the papers, I'm not sure how the birds were fed kimchi*.

Thanks to Alan Alda's MASH** and Veterans from the Korean War, the most famous kimchi in America with the over 50 crowd seems to be "the buried in the ground" winter kimchi. This type of kimchi is still made, but mostly in rural areas. Anyone who has been to Seoul in the last 20 years or so will know that it's difficult to find a spot to dig a hole in the ground without a concrete drill. Even 30-35 years ago in Seoul my family never made this type of kimchi. I do remember some of our neighbors making it though.

The (in)famous "buried in the ground kimchi" is kimjang, the most prized version is from Northern areas. The seasoning tends to be milder with more refreshing kimchi "juice". Kimjang is a topic for a whole other post.

In reality the most ubiquitous kimchi is baechue kimchi or nappa cabbage kimchi.

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Cabbage that has been salted with sea salt untill slighlty limp, rinsed and drained. The salting time varies depending on the season and the quality of the cabbage. I've heard some cooks claims differences of hours. This is what properly salted cabbage looks like.

 

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Julienned white radish or mu.

 

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Korean red chili peppers and Korean chives, also called wild leeks puchu

 

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Wild lettuce Kodulppaegi

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Cooked paste made of white flour and water ppul

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Ground salted anchovies, pureed sweet onions, minced garlic, grated ginger,  green onions cut into 1" pieces and sundried anchovy stock.

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Mix

 

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Add the paste, mix well. Place the mixture between the leaves as shown in the first photo.

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You'll notice some larger pieces of white radish, I don't know when my mother snuck them in, but it's a very common addition to baechue kimchi.

Easier recipe for kimchi

Traditionally kimchi was stored in earthenware jars, except in Kangwon-do where wood was used. This deserves a seperate post. These days most cooks store them in glass jars or even plastic! The earthenware jars are used mostly in rural areas.

Join the forum to discuss recipes

 

* I found an article in The Chosun Ilbo
 

In March, Kang and his team fed an extract of the lactic ferment found in the pickled cabbage dish -- dubbed Leuconostoc kimchii -- to a group of chickens infected with Newcastle Disease, avian flu and other respiratory illnesses. After one week almost all of the chickens had recovered completely. Reports on the study have appeared as far afield as BBC broadcasts and the Wall Street Journal.

**MASH, watch the hilarious hijinks! I loathed this show.

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Comments

hi Ji-Young Park

Thanks so much for the lovely steps in kimchi making. As my son in law is the only one who loves kimchi that is just right, so half a cabbage will last 2 weeks. if made in a big batch, the rest will be overdone.

can i make the sauce without the paste, leave in the fridge for future and for a start, add some paste and make 1/2 a cabbage?

I just LOVE kimchi. The pictures are making me drool!

Very interesting cooking process!
Paz

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