Or I should learn to differentiate between swede, turnip and radish. Really.
For a few weeks now, my parents in law have moved in with us. Upon hearing the news, all my friends responded in surprise and quickly pointed to the golden rule #1 of happy family life, Vietnamese edition: Avoid living with parents in law with all cost. Of course, they also told me tons of horror stories of daughter-mother-in-law relationship, where the (often new) bride ended up in tears and sorrow.
I guess that might be true in some cases, not mine. The thing is, my parents in law are really amusing (oops, is it even the right word?) to live with. I have never lived with so many people before. It is fun. Like my sister mentions, there are like 4 different languages spoken at my home now. We also have a lot of similarities and differences in lifestyles. A mixed bag, and thankfully a fun one.
I get on well with my MIL. She hates cooking, I love it. I hate cleaning up and organising things, she loves it. I cannot sew, she´s a master. I like pretty flowers while she collects weird-looking succulents. But there are two main things that hook us: both of us love Mr. B (obviously) and she loves my cooking. I tell you, that solves a lot of problems.
With my MIL around, I have someone who shares my fondness of kimchi with. I know it sounds pathetic but no one in my family loves kimchi. My sister won´t go near it, while mr. B only eats it when being forced. My father in law only likes curries. But I and my MIL loves kimchi. *hi5*
So, finally, I can make kimchi at home. I go a bit untraditional in terms of vegetable mix for my first batch: turnip and fennel. (Actually I thought the purple-cream round vegetable was radish. Heh. How little did I know about my vegies!) Anyway, while the veg mix is unusual, the kimchi seasoning is quite traditional.
I am loving the result. The vegetables remain crunchy and have the right amount of sourness to them. (I call it “ripe”). And kimchi fennel? I know Kathryn and Ganga have meant to know the results of this experiment. It is awesome people. Awesome!
Obviously this kimchi recipe only appeals to those who love this kind of smelly pickles. I am absolutely fine that at the dinner table only my MIL and I are enthusiastic about it. I don´t care. I am happy to get my “kimchi fix” at home now.
I think the great thing about making your own kimchi is you can adjust the ingredients to your liking. I am not a big fan of Chinese chives smell, so I only used a tiny bit. This recipe produces spicy-sour-crunchy kimchi, which is not overly sweet. A keeper.
Other vegs to use: turnip, daikon etc.
A handful of Chinese chives (to taste – more if u like/can tolerate the smell) – sliced
For the kimchi seasoning – adapted from “authentic recipes from Korea”
4 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
1 ½ cup water
3 tbps garlic paste
3 tbps ginger paste
4 tbp fish sauce (* i heard traditionally fermented shrimp is used*)
10 tbp ground pepper (don´t worry, it´s not that hot)
½ tbp sugar
Skin the turnip and cut into i-inch cubes. Do the same thing with the fennel. Add 1 tbp sea salt to the vegie mixture, stir to combine and leave for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the kimchi seasoning. Basically, put flour and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until the paste thickens. Cool then combine with garlic, ginger paste, fish sauce, sugar and ground pepper.
Rinse the vegie under running cold water. Drain well. Wearing food-grade glove, carefully mix the kimchi seasoning with the vegie mixture together with the chopped chives. Make sure the paste coat the vegies nicely.
Place the mixture in an air-tight container. Leave in a cold dark place overnight and store in the fridge. The kimchi is ready to use when it turns sour. (I left mine outside for 2 nights).