If you’ve been reading for a while or you’ve known me for any length of time you know I’m always looking to try something new – so a few weeks ago when the Fermentation Creation food fermentation kit arrived at the shop and Dan gave me one to play with I was in heaven.
The timing was no coincidence – although I didn’t know the Fermentation Creation was on the way, I have been doing a lot of reading about the health benefits of fermented foods and I had just purchased a delicious container of Kimchi from one of the local Asian markets and used it in a funky Kimchi Stirfry recipe.
I should confess that I’ve never made Kimchi before. I’ve never made sauerkraut before. In fact, other than beer, I’ve never made anything fermented before. But I’m not one to let a little thing like inexperience stop me!
I unpacked my fermentation kit and here is what I found:
I visited Fermentation Creation’s recipe book online and took a trip to the grocery store for the ingredients. I purchased Napa cabbage and daikon radishes. I thought I had everything else I needed in the pantry, so I began washing, cutting and chopping the veggies.
A quick lesson in julienning daikon radishes and carrots. First, peel the veg you wish to julienne. Then cut it into pieces the length you desire for your finished julienne.
Since the daikon radishes and carrots are round, you want to create a flat surface so you can safely work with it.
Next, with the newly exposed flat side down, cut the halves into planks.
Finally, cut the planks into match sticks.
After I got all my veggies cut, I salted them and put them in a colander (in the sink or over a bowl) to drain.
While the veggies drained (for a very lllooonnnggg time) I prepared the marinade which included chopped red onion, kosher salt, Sambel Oelek Chili Paste, minced ginger, sugar, and lime juice.
Sambel Oelek Chili Paste is an Asian condiment made of fiery red chilies, vinegar and salt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any Sambel Oelek – but I was too far into the process to be deterred. I did have Harissa – which is a Moroccan condiment made from spicy chili peppers, paprika and olive oil. So I threw caution to the wind and added the Harissa along with some rice vinegar.
After the veggies had drained for the very lllooonnnggg time, I rinsed them, squeezed them dry and packed them into the jar.
Finally, I poured the marinade over the veggies and followed the instructions to cap the jar and place the airlock in place.
Well, if I thought I had to wait a lllooonnnggg time for the salted veggies to drain, I was in for a rude awakening. The hardest part of making my Moroccan Kimchi was waiting for the fermentation to happen. Every day I stared longingly at the jar on the counter wishing I could open it and give it a taste. However, I read that it is ideal to let your Kimchi ferment for two weeks. So I waited a rrreeeaaallllllyyy lllllloooooonnnnnnggggg time.
Finally, today, I opened the jar. I was filled with excitement, desire and a bit of reluctance – what if my Moroccan Kimchi experiment was a bust? What if Harissa was the worst choice I could have made? What if I waited two weeks only to find out my Kimchi was a failure?
Fortunately, my reluctance was unfounded. The kimchi is terrific. IMO, it has just the right amount of heat – that is to say a lot, but not so much that it blows the top of your head off or scorches the roof of your mouth – and just the right amount of vinegariness (is that a word)!!!
To paraphrase Martha Stewart – “Moroccan Kimchi…it’s a good thing!”