Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fast & Fizzy Kimchi

A photo posted by Kolika of Pistachio Bakehouse (@wannabgourmande) on


I'm a big fan of instagram. I use it to promote my business, keep up with my friends, and learn all about exciting new things that pastry chefs around the world are doing. I especially love instagram because of its purity; minimal ads, only 'like's, you only see what you want to see, and it's all in a nice, clean form that's just perfectly streamlined. It's because of instagram that my page gets so many views, and people know about me, in their own small scale. Anyway...

I've talked about fermented foods before in some of my wellness blogs. Naturally fermented foods are so great for your overall gut health and I highly recommend that you--yes, you--start incorporating them in your diet. Something as simple as "eat better" is truly attainable when you introduce more fermented foods  as your 2017 resolution. After all, after the dumpster fire of a year this has been, it's going to be pretty easy for it to be a good year, with the bar being set so low.

One of the staples in my pantry is called a ginger bug. I talked about it on my homemade ginger soda blog, here, some time ago. Did you know that you can use ginger bug to make lots of fermented foods that are super-good for you? Sauerkraut, soda, even making fizzy berries for a feel-good topping over ice cream! (Locally sourced, of course.) So long as you keep your ginger bug alive and well, you can do anything with it.

Ginger Bug

  • Organic ginger(yes, it has to be organic)
  • Cane sugar(no, not coconut sugar, not date sugar, not beet sugar, not honey; CANE SUGAR)
  • Filtered water
  • Clean and sterilized mason jar w/ lid
To make your ginger bug, simply roughly chop your ginger, skin included, and combine it with equal parts by volume, if you please, in a clean mason jar. Simply seal, shake, and allow it to sit in a sunny window, undisturbed, for two or three days. You'll soon see bubbles forming, and that's a good thing. Do not refrigerate, simply feet sugar and water every once in a while, and leave it in a cupboard until you're ready to use it. My own personal ginger bug is at least a year old at this point, and hasn't failed me yet. 


Is this the most-authentic recipe ever? Absolutely not. Is it even remotely authentic? Eh. I mean...it was made by a half-Asian person, and it tastes good. So....does it count as kimchi? By definition, Kimchi is spicy, pickled cabbage. So, yes! Yes it does count as kimchi. (If you want an authentic recipe, though, try this one right here.) This is just a quick-and-easy recipe that your average millenial can do at home to have some nice kimchi in a couple of days. 

My boyfriend saw the cabbage on the counter and sighed deeply before leaving the house; he hates kimchi day
Fast & Fizzy Kimchi

  • 1 medium-sized head organic Napa cabbage
  • 1 small yellow onion, julienned
  • 3 Tbsp ginger, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder(I use New Mexican chili powder because it's what I have in the pantry; you can use Korean chili powder, of course! If you like more spice, add it! Please, let's not forget who is eating it...)
  • Strained ginger bug, A/N
  • Kosher salt, A/N
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned(optional)
  • 1 cup scallions, julienned(optional)
Note: Is this the most-authentic recipe ever? Absolutely not. Is it even remotely authentic? Eh. I mean...it was made by a half-Asian person, and it tastes good. So....does it count as kimchi? By definition, Kimchi is spicy, pickled cabbage. So, yes! Yes it does count as kimchi. (If you want an authentic recipe, though, try this one right here.) This is just a quick-and-easy recipe that your average millenial can do at home to have some nice kimchi in a couple of days.

Take your cabbage and slice it in nice thin strips(julienne) and pop it in a large container. Take a generous amount of kosher salt and dump it into the container, then work it in with your hands to make sure the cabbage is evenly coated. Cover with a moist paper towel and let it sit for 1 hour to overnight, undisturbed. When you're ready, remove the paper towel and, using your hands to press down the cabbage and keep it there, tip it over the sink to drain all of that liquid out. There will be lots, so do be patient. 

It's really a stupid amount of liquid that comes out...
In a large glass bowl, combine your onion, garlic, ginger, sugar, chili powder and any other vegetables you've chosen to include with your kimchi. I like to keep it just plain, but some like nice julienned carrots and scallions in their kimchi. Toss everything together with your cabbage and put your mixture in sterilized containers. I prefer glass jars, as they're so easily reusable. I'll put kimchi in anything, even if the label of what it originally was is still attached to it!

Now that you've packed your kimchi, it's time to finish it off! Strain enough ginger bug over your kimchi mixture so that each jar is about 3/4 of the way full with it. Top it with one more pinch of sugar and some (ideally) filtered water. (I've used tap water for years, though, and it's been fine.) Once you've depleted your ginger bug, don't forget to feed it again. Just add back some sugar and water and leave it to grow. Those bacteria are hungry, after all, and they do deserve a little snack for all of their hard work.

Leave your kimchi, undisturbed, in the back of the cabinet(or on top of your refrigerator) for at least two days. By then, it should be fizzy enough to be eaten, but the longer you let it sit, the better. I've kept kimchi, undisturbed, in a cool dark place for up to 3 months and it was still fine. For the sake of safety, though, I'd keep it in the cellar or in the fridge once you've opened it...and toss it when it turns blue or grows hair. 

Eating fermented foods in the dead of winter helps your immune system, too!

This makes me two large jars, so it might make you several small jars.  I have a big, wide-mouthed mason jar and, on the right, is a jar that used to hold coconut oil, but has been washed and repurposed. I'm trying to lead a more trash-free lifestyle, so I'm all about reusing things when I'm able. If you have an odd array of different jars, all the better! Don't conform to sameness; dare to be different. A varied diet will keep your guts happy and healthy, so please don't be afraid to try this basic recipe with other vegetables as well. I don't recommend, however, using porous veggies like squash; stick with the harder stuff, like carrots, onions, bok choy, etc.

As always, if you try my recipes, please let me know in the comments! Happy cooking and happy eating!