Remember that Kim Chi I started fermenting a while ago? I barely do, either. So much has happened since then. But after about two weeks of fermenting, I tasted it and it tasted done. Success!
As you’ll recall, I made two versions — traditional and seaweed. The traditional more or less followed the pattern I used the first time I made kim chi, but with less garlic and with lots of chili powder . The verdict? Total success. I didn’t miss the garlic and I did enjoy the extra heat. Definitely a win.
The seaweed version was slightly less successful. I saw this coming early on, when I realized I should have rehydrated the kelp granules before adding them to the mixture and had to add water and re-jar some of it to compensate. The small overflow jar didn’t seem to have quite enough brine it in and didn’t have the veggies weighed down enough to keep them under water (a fermentation no-no, apparently), and it smelled just a bit off, so I chucked it. It was only one or two cups — the bulk of it in the two quart jar was fermented just fine. The problem was just that it wasn’t totally delicious. The kelp granules were a little weird and…well, granular, so they didn’t add to the texture, and the seaweedy flavor was neither weak enough to be ignored nor strong enough to be a selling point. I will try again with seaweed, but be less impulsive about it.
So what to do with two quarts of it? Kimchi jigae — Korean kim chi stew. As with many things I’ve been making recently, I found after some online research that there is no definitive way to make this. I settled on a combination of this recipe (but with no American cheese — weird.) and this recipe (but with the addition of sesame oil and fish sauce, as in the first recipe), and it turned out a really delicious, spicy stew. (I used beef brisket for the meat, and left out the tofu.).
I’ve still got some of the seaweed kim chi to eat as-is, but not such an intimidating amount. And I discovered a great stew. And I’ve got some good notes for next time. Hey, I think the seaweed kim chi just might be a win, too.