A BUMPER HARVEST
As we bid farewell to the final shreds of summer, the veggie garden rewards us with its autumn harvest. Here at The Falls Retreat, this means that we are fully into pickling, preserving and fermenting mode in an attempt to capture all of nature’s goodness. In every garden there is always an excess of certain staples – beans, zucchini, cucumber – too many to keep turning into salads and how many ways can you reinvent the green bean? As a passionate chef, Brad is always looking for new and interesting ways to utilise this glut of produce and kimchi has become our new ‘best friend’. He has discovered ways to adapt the traditional recipe using the same key staple ingredients and method, but experimenting with alternative vegetables.
So what exactly is Kimchi?
It’s a traditional Korean dish made by submerging vegetables in a salt and water (brine) solution. By doing so, harmful bacteria are killed and the sugar and lactose present in the food are then converted to lactic acid, creating tangy and safely preserved vegetables that can be served as a side dish with all sorts of meals. It is traditionally made using cabbage and each bite provides unique and complex flavours ranging between savoury, sweet, sour and spicy. It also has multiple nutritional benefits as it is high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre and full of good bacteria, which is excellent for digestion.
How do I make it?
It’s easy but just takes a little time and patience for the magic to occur. Once created, kimchi will start fermenting after a day or two at room temperature, depending on humidity and the actual daily temperatures. The warmer it is, the faster the kimchi will ferment. Once it starts to ferment it will smell and taste sour! You can test that it has begun fermentation by pressing on the top with a spoon – this will release trapped gases and bubbles from beneath. At this stage, store in the refrigerator to use as needed. Refrigeration will slow down the fermentation process, allowing the kimchi to become sourer as time goes on.
Green Bean and Jalapeno Kimchi
1kg green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 bunches spring onion, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ onion, minced
10 cloves of garlic, minced
60g fresh ginger, grated
4 tsp fish sauce
½ kg jalapeno peppers
3 tsp salt
½ kg carrots, cut into matchstick size
½ cup gochugaru (Korean red chilli – available at Asian supermarkets or at The Falls Retreat)
4 tsp sugar
6 cups water
5 Tbsp sea salt
- Prepare brine solution by mixing the water and salt together in a bowl. Add the chopped green beans and let soak for a few hours or overnight. Make sure beans are totally covered by brine.
- Once beans have finished soaking, discard the brine solution and keep beans in the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine garlic, ginger, fish sauce, gochugaru, spring onions, carrot, onion and sugar.
- Cut jalapenos and deseed. Cut flesh into pieces and process in a food processer with salt until in a mash-like consistency. Add the jalapeno mash to the above mix and thoroughly combine to form a paste.
- Using gloves, add paste to the green beans and massage through thoroughly coating every bean.
- Pack the beans into small jars and cover with a lid. Let the kimchi sit at room temperature for 1-5 days.
- Check the jar everyday. You will likely see bubbles and more liquid in the jar than when you started, this is normal and indicates fermentation is occuring. Taste the kimchi when you check the jar and when it has ripened to your liking, move into the fridge and keep fermenting for up to 10-12 days to allow the flavours to mingle and the pungency to fuse with the acidic tones. During fermentation the gochugaru flakes will become more orange than red and the beans will turn a dull yellowish green.
- Keep stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to 1 year.
Brads Top Tips
Use the following tips to make the best Kimchi ever!
- Don’t use iodised salt (table salt) as the iodine inhibits the beneficial bacteria during the fermentation process. Sea salt is ideal.
Use a decent mandolin to ensure all your components are the same size; this makes for a more even consistency and distribution of flavours.
- Use disposable gloves if you have sensitive hands, as the chilli can irritate your skin.
Learn more about cooking from scratch and sustainable living at The Falls Retreat with their range of cooking and gardening workshops