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Turnip kimchi recipe at lynnecurry.com.

Simple Kimchi Your Way–or Mine

If enthusiasm counted for anything, I’d be an expert on kimchi.

But the truth is that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy this remarkable fermented food–or even to make it from scratch.

As I was preparing for a fermentation class for beginners at Prairie Mountain Folk School coming up this Sunday, I made a quick batch of kimchi. {Quick is redundant because the human role in making it is limited to soaking and mixing. Nature, or the process known as lacto-fermentation, does the rest.}

A Different Vegetable Kimchi

But I didn’t use napa cabbage, which is the most common vegetable used in kimchi making . My grower friend, Beth, gave me bunches of salad turnips leftover from the farmers market.

Radish is another traditional vegetable for kimchi, so I just treated those turnips like radishes. I sliced them thin in my food processor, soaked them in salt and mixed garlic, ginger and the Korean chile powder called gochugaru.

Recipes say that you can eat kimchi right away. And it did smell really good as I stuffed it all into a jar, but man was it spicy!

Turnip kimchi recipe at lynnecurry.com.

So, I left it on the counter overnight. By the next morning, that jar had nearly bubbled over. It was so alive! Right before my eyes: fermentation happens.

And transformation!

The flavors had magically harmonized and the heat level had mellowed overnight. Tantilyzing and mysterious smells wafted into the air, making me realize it was time for lunch.

Cooking with Kimchi

While I wanted to make this kimchi noodle cake, I chopped up all the greens in the house from our latest CSA order: beet greens, collards, carrot tops and some wilting spinach.

Sauteed in bacon fat in a skillet, those greens also were changed into something far greater than themselves by the addition of kimchi.

Turnip kimchi recipe at lynnecurry.com.

A Saturday lunch for the ages.

I can’t wait to try making kimchi with carrots. Or kohlrabi. Or whatever Beth tosses my way next time.

In the environment of your own home, kimchi is your own thing to be made and enjoyed in your own way.

In the time you read this post, you could make kimchi–even if you’ve never tried it before. What have you got to lose?

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Turnip kimchi recipe at lynnecurry.com.
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Salad Turnip Kimchi

I adapted this recipe from Maangchi, a fabulous resource for Korean cooking (with videos).  The original recipe is called kkakdugi. You can make it with diakon radish, carrots or kohlrabi. While you can use other hot pepper flakes, I highly recommend ordering gochugaru for its inimitable flavors for homemade kimchi.

Course Preserves
Cuisine Korean
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 quarts
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound salad turnips, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/4-1/3 cup hot pepper flakes (gochugaru) depending on your taste

Instructions

  1. Slice or chop the turnips and place them in a bowl. Combine the salt and sugar and toss it with the turnips to distribute them evenly.

  2. Set aside for 30-45 minutes until the turnips release their juices. Drain the turnips, reserving a few tablespoons.

  3. Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, fish sauce and hot pepper flakes to suit your taste. Toss well until the turnips are well coated in the spice mixture.

  4. Transfer the turnips into a glass jar. Press them down into the jar and use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles. Cover loosely with a mason jar lid.

  5. Leave the jar at room temperature for 24 hours. Taste the kimchi and if you like the flavors it is developing continue to ferment for another 24 hours at room temperature.

  6. Cover and store in the refrigerator to use fresh as a condiment and in cooked dishes.

 

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