In what could be described as the era of health food, I’m surprised that kimchi is still not widely eaten in the Western world at what seems to be the forefront of the clean eating trend. Avocados, chia seeds and courgette are the buzzwords when it comes to this trend yet kimchi is said to be one of the most nutritional foods out there.
High in fibre, vitamins A and C and low in calories, kimchi is a staple of the South Korean diet, with the average Korean person consuming 18kg of it each year.
I’ve already posted my Quick Korean Kimchi recipe but this time, I’m making a more traditional kimchi paste which has a more authentic taste and colour. However I’m quickly swaying from tradition by using romaine lettuce instead of the traditional napa cabbage and because I don’t like shrimp paste, I’m adding depth by using doenjang which is fermented soy bean paste and gochujang which is fermented chilli paste.
One of my favourite little kitchen tools is my julienne slicer. I bought it for HK$10 (about 80p) when I went last year and it’s such a great tool if your knife skills aren’t up to scratch (like mine!).
Like with any fermented food, the longer you leave it, the more flavourful it becomes. I recommend leaving this kimchi for at least 24 hours but it is great on the day of eating too. It’s great chopped up and fried with some meat or added into fried rice as well as being served as part of a Korean meal. Here are some recipes you might find useful:
3 tbsp gochujang paste
2 tbsp doenjang paste
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic powder (or one clove, grated)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (you can use mirin if you wish)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 spring onions, the green parts julienned
Half a carrot, julienned
1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and drained and the end removed
In a bowl, mix together the gochujang and denjang until they are an even colour. Add in the sesame seeds, chilli flakes and garlic and mix until dispersed.
In a separate bowl, combine the sesame oil, rice wine, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons hot water. Add in the spring onions and julienned carrots and stand for 5 minutes. Then mix the liquid into the spicy paste gradually until it forms a paste. This is your kimchi paste.
Put on a pair of disposable gloves. Spread the paste over each individual lettuce leaf so that the leaf is tainted with the kimchi paste but making sure that you have enough for each leaf. Repeat for each leaf, using up the whole kimchi paste.
Then layer up the lettuce leaves in a plastic container and press down firmly to remove any air pockets. Seal the container and place in the fridge until serving. Do not keep for longer than 2 weeks.