Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Spring onion Kimchi

Well I had plans to make another batch of kimchi, the last lot of the fiery fermented cabbage has all but disappeared from our fridge, but wanting to keep the peace and not wanting to devote as much of our tiny fridge space to three very large jars of cabbage, nor the week of wondrous aroma that fermenting cabbage and shrimp paste adds to the general smells of the house, I opted for a much smaller batch, a one litre jars worth, and instead of having spring onion as the background vegetable it would be replacing the cabbage entirely.

Spring onions, enough to tightly pack your chosen jar
½ cup garlic
Thumb of ginger
½ cup fish sauce
1 cup hot chilli flakes
½ cup glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour)
3 cups water
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp belacan (a shrimp paste)
3 g Bonito flakes (optional)

The night before, trim the spring onions so they are about a centimetre or two shorter than the height of the jar, reserve the green parts as they will be puréed later. Fill a large bowl with water and add enough salt to make a 5% brine (50 grams per litre), submerge the trimmed spring onions and weigh down with a plate or two, leave overnight.

The next day, pour the 3 cups of water, rice flour and sugar into a pot and bring to the boil, this will thicken up pretty quick, keep stirring until it forms a thick smooth paste. Tip out into a bowl and leave to cool.

While the the rice glop cools, in a blender combine the garlic, ginger, greens of spring onion, fish sauce, and belacan, whiz until it forms a smoothish purée. Mix into the now cool glop along with the bonito and chilli flakes.

Now is the time that if you don’t have some gloves you’ll wish you did, drain the spring onions and dump into the fiery red fishy gloppy paste and make sure they all get a good coating, transfer them to a sterile jar, then top up with the paste leaving a little head room in the jar but making sure that the spring onions are covered, place on the lid loosely and move to somewhere cool and dark for 3–6 days so the fermentation can begin. After about 6 days tighten the lid and transfer to the fridge.

I’m not sure exactly how long it will last in the fridge ‘until it’s gone’ is my best answer, and I do prefer it to age a little before I crack the jar and start eating, so up to you whether or not you plough into the fiery spring onions straight away or not.

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