after raking the leaves in my own backyard, i rode down to the cafe to rake the leaves in the parking lot. it'd been raining earlier, but as soon as i ducked back inside the house, the weather seemed to be clearing up so i left. temperature was warm enough (in the 50's) that i just wore a pullover, no jacket. to think: the forecast for friday night is a temperature drop down to 24°F, a chance of setting a new low temperature record.
i was only there for about an hour, came back home with a chinese cabbage (for making sichuan paocai tomorrow) and a container of dumplings which i had for lunch. i then spent the rest of the day crafting another batch of korean kimchi.
i found out the style of kimchi i make is called mak kimchi, where you chop up the cabbage into small edible pieces instead of whole sections. i've only made poggi kimchi one time before; i didn't think the flavor was anything too special and it was a mess to eat because you have to cut the kimchi into pieces beforehand.
i went online searching for an alternative mak kimchi recipe compared to the one i usually make. a lot of recipes called for making a glutinous rice porridge to create a hot pepper paste and i wanted to try it out. after looking at so many recipes, i still kept coming back to the maangchi one. the one thing she does that i don't do is soak the chopped cabbage in a brine solution. my method i salt the cabbage and let it reduce over several hours. she also uses a lot more salt - 1 cup (16 tbsp) for 10 lbs. of cabbage - while i just use 6 tbsp. afterwards she rinses off the salt while i don't do any rinsing in my recipe.
in the end i followed my own recipe in reducing the cabbage and daikon radish but created a glutinous rice porridge hot pepper powder paste to mix with the reduced vegetables.
i have a very large (16" diameter) stainless steel commercial mixing bowl that i thought would be big enough to contain my vegetable ingredients (napa cabbage and daikon radish) but after i finished cutting i quickly realized i had way too much. i ended up splitting the ingredients into two, the other half in a large stock pot. i split the salt portion equally between the two containers and left the cabbage and radish to reduce, coming back every hour to turn the vegetables. the reduction would take 6 hours, i figured i'd start assembling the kimchi sometime after 8pm.
it took just an hour for the vegetables to reduce enough that i could now fit all of it in the large mixing bowl. there was already a good amount of liquids at the bottom of the container; instead of pouring it out, i mixed it back into the vegetables, as the liquids contained a fair amount of salt, which would further reduce the cabbage and radish.
an hour before (7pm) the vegetables finished reducing (8pm), i started making the glutinous rice porridge, since it needed time to cool down before it could be mixed with the other ingredients. for the amount of kimchi i was making, it seemed like i needed to make a fairly large amount of porridge, 3 cups. i thought it was a bit much, but decided to follow the recipe as written, figuring at least for the very first time i should follow the directions. the water and rice flour quickly turned into the consistency of white glue. it was thick, and bubbling, and i was after of getting splattered with hot porridge. to that i added some brown sugar and continued heating until the sugar had dissolved, turning the porridge light brown. it actually tasted pretty good, reminded me of the flavor of boba tapioca balls.
i started preparing the rest of the ingredients. the ginger, garlic, and asian pear had to be peeled and processed in the ninja blender. originally i was only going to use a single head of garlic because my mother complained my last batch of kimchi had too much garlic, but the homegrown red korean garlic i was using were kind of on the small-medium size, so using 2 was kind of like still using 1 large head of garlic. i was also going to julienne the ginger, but decided to chop it in the food processor because i was lazy. since i was incorporating so much sugar from the glutinous rice flour porridge, i was hesitant about adding the asian pear. but since i had it, i added it anyway, would be processed regardless, not like anyone would be able to tell the difference.
another new ingredient was the addition of carrots. i had carrots when i made my poggi whole-leaf kimchi, though it contributed nicely to the overall kimchi medley. i'd weighed out 1.37 lbs. of carrots ready to be julienned. chopping them up into matchsticks not only took a long time but was also dangerous, and a few things i cut into my fingernails. i ended up stopping after i collected 3 cups of julienned carrots. the maangchi recipe only called for 1/4 cup of carrots.
i finally started piecing together the ingredients around 8:30pm, when the rice porridge had enough time to cool to room temperature. the porridge went into the stainless steel mixing bowl first, followed by processed ingredients (ginger-garlic-pear). the shrimp paste came next. usually i add 2 tbsp, but i was making a lot of kimchi so i upped it to 3 tbsp. the maangchi recipe called for 1 cup of fish sauce, something i've never added to my kimchi. but i wanted to follow the recipe, so i poured in the fish sauce, i only had 1/2 a cup worth. chopped thai hot peppers, chopped garlic chives, julienned carrots followed. the last ingredient was the red pepper powder. in my typical kimchi recipe, i'd be adding in tablespoons. but koreans measure their red pepper powder portions in cups, and maangchi said to add 2-1/2 cups of pepper powder. i hesitated but ended up following her directions. with about 3 cups worth of porridge, you really needed an approximately equal amount of pepper powder. once the powder went it, only then did it look like a proper kimchi paste.
after putting on some gloves, i mixed in the reduced cabbage and radish with the pepper paste. it was kind of gross yet fun, like playing in the mud, mashing up the ingredients. i tried a piece, wasn't what i was expecting flavor-wise. i could taste the 2 orders of fishiness from the fish sauce and the shrimp paste; because of all the added sugar, it tasted sweet; wasn't too salty which made me think maybe i should've added more salt (followed the recipe fully instead of reducing the vegetables my own way); it wasn't even that spicy despite 2-1/2 cups of red pepper powder, most of the hot kick came from the chopped up thai chili peppers; no sour taste yet, but that will come once everything starts fermenting.
over the sink, i scooped the kimchi into my glass pickle jars. i only had 4 pickle jars, the 2 other jars were 32 oz. (quart-size) wide mouth canning jars. i finally finished canning all the kimchi by 9:30pm. unlike my usual kimchi, which are canned "dry," this particular batch had more of a pepper paste so there are no air pockets inside the jar, just a solid mass of kimchi vegetables and red pepper paste. i'm curious to know what they taste like once properly fermented.
i started making dinner immediately afterwards, heating up some meat sauce and boiling some pasta. by the time i sat down to eat, the celtics game was already over. i ended up eating and watched episode 2 of apple+'s for all mankind from my computer. so far both episodes have been pretty good, i have one more episode left to go.