Kimchi (all things) in New Jersey

(John) #21

I’ve made a lot of Mangchee recipes. They generally turn out well. Usually even better after a practice run or two.

When fermented foods are processed that stops the fermentation. The temperature kills off the bacteria - ‘pasteurization’. However once you open it, it’ll start fermenting again. This usually doesn’t happen because we keep the products in the fridge were the temperature is too cold for the fermentation to happen very fast. It happens, but bacteria really only like having sex & reproducing (& hence fermenting) when it’s warm.


Is there anyway other than making this porridge that you know of (ie something I might have laying around like corn starch or regular flour?) My goal is to try and buy nothing but some cabbage and learn about this style of food before investing in all the traditional ingredients. I was going to try gojuchang instead of the flakes.

(John) #23

Johnny, there are a zillion kimchee recipes online. I bet if you read a few you’ll find some that match your ingredients. I find that substitutions in Mangchee’s recipes leads to inferior outcomes.


I looked at many Kimchi recipes before I settled on Mangchee’s. I picked it because I had most of the ingredients. It was also the first “Korean” site that popped up and I wanted something other than the ubiquitous recipe sites.

(Joon) #25

Awesome!! Looks great. I would recommend packing it down a little bit, for fermentation purposes you don’t want too much air surrounding your cabbage. Can’t tell for sure from the picture but it looks like you might not have salted your cabbage enough, it should be pretty pliable. BTW the chili flake you had was exactly what you want to use for kimchi.


Why no fresh pepper… I imagine it’s a historic issue, kimchi is a preservation item that is made in early winter to last the cold months. At that point in the year fresh chili would not be available. In summer kimchis like water kimchi, you will see some sliced chiles added. But hey this is murca and you add whatever chili you like!

As for the paste, any starch is fine. You often see people use flour, or just regular 'ol rice buzzed with some water in a blender. Really any starch should be fine here as it is intended as food for the bacteria. It’s even fine to just skip it altogether.

As for the gochujang, I think it has too much of a distinct taste for it to work here, your kimchi will taste too much like gochujang. Not that there is anything wrong with gochujang, but it’s not the point of kimchi. It would be like making chili or spaghetti sauce with ketchup. But hey I’m always a fan of culinary experiments and don’t want to discourage you, just know it will become some other thing if you use gochujang.


Thanks for the tips. I am pretty sure my cabbage wasn’t as pliable as it should be too. The recipe was for 10 pounds of cabbage and I wasn’t sure how to scale it back for my one lonely head. I’ve packed down what I have left per your suggestion.

The small amount I left sitting on the counter was good. Probably not classic but certainly eatable. I kind of liked it a bit on the crunch side.


Thanks for the tips!

OK another question…

Do you clamp down the jar to seal air out and leave an inch or so to captures the gases, or do you open it every day or so to let the gas out? I see people disagreeing on this upon my research. I will say, there are a ton a kimchi recipes and methods online.

My goal is for some pretty dank stuff.

(John) #28

google ‘fermentation crock’ & fermentation valve’ for some ideas Johnny. You want to let the gas out and keep the oxygen out. Fermentation creates carbon dioxide which inhibits the growth of other bacteria by reducing/eliminating the oxygen for them to grow & prosper.

When I ferment peppers for hot sauce I do it in jugs with valves. When I do kraut I just make sure the kraut is weighted down & submerged & cover the crock with a towel. Sauerkraut has a lot more brine than kimchi though.