A week we waited. Today had the moment of truth arrived.
Open the jar we did. Saw some white stuff on the top layer that initially worried us but turned out to be just bits of ground garlic. Off we scraped them anyway, and to check the pickle juice that heavy jar we tilted. Little Mom, who more than anyone I know carrots and bean sprouts and bokchoy pickled has, to me revealed that if the juice is cloudy, the smell “sour in a bad way” and the cabbage disintegrating, into the trash go the kimchi must. But clear is the juice, garlicky and sour in a good way the smell, and crunchy the cabbage. Few moments in life there are when I feel so happy that I get quiet for fear of having mistaken. This is one of those. Followed by a high five and a hug with Kristen.
And yes, being someone who hardly ever cooks then succeeding at making kimchi on first try will make you speak like Yoda. On our side the Force is today.
Okay, so we tried to follow Dave Chang’s recipe in Lucky Peach #2, but we bought a head of napa cabbage big enough to hatch a T-Rex, so we scaled things up a tad (although Chang didn’t specify how heavy “a head” of cabbage weighed).
White Napa Cabbage (Baechu) Kimchi (white because it’s not red – no chili massacre)
– 1 head of napa cabbage (our receipt said 1 lb, but I could’ve sworn it really didn’t feel like 1 lb, more like 3)
– 1 bulb of garlic (~15 cloves)
– 2-inch piece peeled ginger (to puree)
– Another 2-inch piece peeled ginger – julienne this one
– 3/2 cups corn syrup
– 4 tbs salt
– 3 tbs sugar
– 1/2 cup soy sauce
– 1/2 cup rice vinegar
– 2 carrots, julienned
– 6 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
Why okonomiyaki sauce? More on that later.