One of the foods I’ve missed most since leaving NYC 17 years ago is kimchi, Korean spicy fermented cabbage.
I’ve never bothered trying to make it because I hadn’t found any simple recipes to accommodate what’s not available here on the prairie, including Napa cabbage, sweet rice flour (which is available all over Amazon.com but not Amazon.ca), daikon radish, and fresh squid or oysters. So I was very excited the other day to discover Maangchi’s recipe for “emergency kimchi”, which is made with regular cabbage and without the seafood, which is always a problem here in our land-locked province; I’m not the only family member pining for seafood since at a recent 4H meeting, in response to a roll call question about their favorite foods, one landlocked child of mine answered “lobster” and another “crab”.
But I just stumbled over Maangchi’s “emergency kimchi” recipe, which is not only made with easy to find ingredients (think midwest chain grocery store where the shelf with organic canned tomatoes is considered wild and exotic) but quick, so that I don’t have to store the clay pot under my front door. Preparation time is just 30 minutes, and the recipe uses regular cabbage and avoids the traditional porridge made with sweet rice flour. It does still call for Korean hot pepper flakes, but I plan to use the supermarket brand (sigh…). If I’d found the recipe sooner, I would have stocked up last month on Korean hot pepper at the Korean greengrocer near my parents’ apartment. I do see a couple of Korean groceries in Edmonton listed on this page. Thank you, Maangchi, for making kimchi a possibility out here.
If you live somewhere more civilized, here’s Maangchi’s traditional recipe, and here is the easy time-saving recipe with traditional ingredients. You can find all sorts of Korean recipes, cooking tips, and even YouTube cooking videos, at her website.