Another late posting as this happened back in November. One Saturday morning I invited over a few friends and we made kimchi from scratch – yes, we have officially done gimjang. Gimjang is an annual tradition for typical Korean family that seems to be dying these days like many other traditions. Back in the days, as the air began to chill, families and neighbours would set a date to gather around and make huge batches of kimchi that would last well over winter. These days, with smaller, independent families and the convenience of store-bought kimchi, gimjang slowly becomes a thing of the past especially in urban lifestyle.
I wanted to show my friends a glimpse of fading tradition. Although I never took part in a traditional gimjang experience, I have made my own batches before in Canada when good, affordable kimchi was hard to come by and I was forced to make my own (which turned out to be much better than I expected). For the workshop, I decided to make 겉절이 which is more like a salad version of traditional fermented kimchi. It is easier to make and you can skip the fermentation process (which could be pain sometimes) and eat it right away.
This is the recipe that I shared with my friends who came to my workshop. Hope it was easy enough for them to recreate on their own.
Cutting, washing & salting the cabbage
알배추 겉절이 Kimchi Salad
겉절이 (geot-jeoli) is made by marinating salted cabbage or lettuce leaves with kimchi sauce. Geot-jeoli tastes the best when made fresh so unlike gimjang kimchi (김장김치) it is made in small portion and consumed on the spot. Make the batch of sauce ahead and store in fridge. All you need to do is salt the cabbage and you’ll have your freshly made kimchi.
노란 알배추 Yellow napa cabbage (albaechu)
쪽파 Scallions or Chives
굵은소금 Coarse salt
1/2c 고춧가루 Korean red pepper powder (high quality)
1/4 Asian pear
7~8 cloves Garlic
1tbsp 새우젓 Salted shrimp
1/4c 멸치액젓 Fish sauce
3tbsp 매실청 Sweet plum juice
2tbsp 꿀 Honey
1) Cut off the core of the cabbage and chop in bite-size. Wash 2~3 times in cold water then drain.
2) Salt the cabbage. Sprinkle some salt over thin layer of chopped cabbages. Add more cabbages on top then sprinkle more salt. Repeat. Add a bit of water then mix with hands.
3) Salting process will take from 1.5~2hrs. In the meantime, prepare the marinade.
4) Blend the fruit, onion, garlic and ginger until smooth. Adjust the amount of sweetener (fruit and onion) to your taste.
5) Add the red pepper powder. Ask the store if the powder is suitable for 김장 (gimjang) and ask about the level of “spiciness”. More expensive ones are usually the better ones.
6) Add honey and 매실청 (plum juice) to add more sweets. No sugar!
7) Add the fish sauce and chopped salted shrimp. Be careful with the amount as these are super salty. It’s a good idea to add little bit at a time then add more after you taste the sauce. The sauce should taste saltier than you’d like as after you incorporate the vegetable it should taste just about right.
8) Chop the “topping” vegetables–in our case scallions or chives. Incorporate into the sauce. The base sauce is done!
9) Drain the cabbage and squeeze out the liquid as much as you can. Add the cabbage to the sauce and mix.
10) Serve right away or store for 3~4 days. Use the same sauce for other simple kimchi like green onion (파김치) or chives (부추김치).