Day two of our kimchi began by chopping and mixing the leeks, scallions, and garlic together along with grated ginger root. The third step, and my personal favorite, was negotiating the dried chiles. While Eric and I both enjoy spicy foods our bodies no longer appreciate the heat we consumed in our youth, so we started with mild New Mexico chiles and removed all the seeds by breaking open the pods and scraping them out. I had this romantic notion of letting the chiles soak in water and then using our beautiful mortar and pestle to grind them down into a paste. That lasted all of two minutes and didn’t work AT ALL. I quickly changed tack and busted out our mini Cuisinart food processor, ground the chiles into a thick paste, and combined the paste with the above ingredients.
Instead of draining the brine off of yesterdays vegetables, I transferred them into a fresh crock using our spider skimmer. You could of course do the first soaking in a non-reactive glass or ceramic bowl, or use the crock, and strain into a bowl, or even just pour off the brine, reserving some if you need it, but we have plenty of crocks in our kitchen.
Using my hands I throughly mixed yesterdays brined vegetables with this mornings spicy mix and immediately a spectacular red brine began to form. I ended up adding some additional salt based solely on personal preference. I packed everything down below the brine level and weighted it down using a Kirby and Kraut weight. I can’t wait to check it tomorrow to see what it looks like!
Two step kimchi (part two)
Ingredients for phase two:
- A second two gallon fermentation crock
- 1 Kirby & Kraut crock weight
- Brined vegetables from day one
- 2 Large leeks, rinsed and finely chopped
- 2 Bundles of scallions, rinsed and finely chopped
- 1 Ginger root, grated (I used an obnoxiously large one)
- 3 Cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 oz Dried New Mexico Chile, seeds removed, reconstituted and ground
- Salt to taste (we ended up adding about 2 more teaspoons of fine sea salt)
I am fascinated by the organic shapes of ginger root.
Eric showed this way to clean leeks, slicing them length wise almost to the end so they stay together while rinsing under running water.
I abandoned that mortar and pestle almost immediately!
I ended up not using all the chile paste because I didn’t want the kimchi too spicy. If you can take the heat I recommend adding it all!
The transfer of yesterday’s brined vegetables into a fresh crock with the spider skimmer.
Adding the spicy mix to the brined vegetables from yesterday.
The red brine hints at the spiciness ahead. Now we wait one week and then pack it into mason jars, where it will mellow and improve in a week or two.