Sunday, September 8, 2013

Brussels Sprouts Kimchi


Last year I participated in a challenge set forth by these guys and I was assigned Crepes Suzette.  This year Zach and Clay have thrown out a Cover to Cover Challenge by having their readers make all of the recipes in the September issue of Bon Appetit.  I naturally signed up again and was anxious to see what recipe I was assigned.

I have to be honest here and was kind of bummed when I saw I was given the challenge to make Brussels Sprouts Kimchi.  Hmmmm, well, uh, OK.  After my initial and personal and selfish, pouty response to my assignment I decided to embrace the Kimchi.  I was going to have fun with this; after all, that is why I enjoy participating in things like this.

I've never eaten Kimchi, which is traditionally made with Napa cabbage.  I've always thought it looked really nasty in the jars on grocery store shelves and although I'm not shy when it comes to spicy, I've heard this stuff is really, really H-O-T.  II know it's the national food of Korea and that's about the extent of my knowledge.  How do you eat this stuff?  Is it a condiment?  Would my friend who eats pickled herring right out of the jar with her fingers do the same with Kimchi???

The real challenge in this challenge was finding one of the ingredients.  Pointedly, this stuff.  Gochugaru, a coarse Korean red pepper powder was difficult to track down.  They didn't have it at Central Market.  It wasn't carried at Penzey's, and it was nowhere to be found on the shelves at Whole Foods.  I did a little investigative work and discovered it was going to be hard to substitute because the key in this spice was not that is was red pepper powder, but that it is coarse ground red pepper so cayenne, for instance, wouldn't be a good substitute.

I tracked down a great (and huge) Asian Market called Super HMart in a suburb of Dallas. and took a little field trip on my lunch hour.  This place was amazing.  I couldn't understand any of the signage so I showed a helpful lady the recipe and the spice I was looking for and she pointed me in the right direction.  With my new found ingredient under my arm I was anxious to whip this recipe out.

The base, of course, are small, tender Brussels sprouts.  After washing, trimming, and cutting in half they were soaked in a brine for 4 hours.

A plate is placed on top of them to keep them submerged.

These are all of the good things that will become a bright red, hot, spicy paste.

The onion, scallions and garlic are roughly chopped and the ginger is roughly grated

Then they are dumped in the food processor bowl and all of the other ingredients are tossed in as well.

The mixture is pulsed until you have a bright red paste.

The Brussels sprouts are drained from their brine and rinsed off.  The canning jars, lids and rings were boiled for about 10 minutes just to make sure everything was sanitary.

The Brussels sprouts were tossed with the chili paste then packed tight into the quart jars.

Pickling liquid is poured into the jars and they are sealed.

The jars are then set in a cool place away from direct sunlight to ferment for 3 to 5 days.

I haven't tried this condiment since it is still in it's fermentation stage but I am encouraged to try it solely from the enthusiasm from my neighbor Martha who was excited to take a jar home to enjoy.  Kimchi is her friend and she thought this looked and smelled heavenly.  I will be honest that I am hesitant about trying this.  I know for a fact that Lovey won't have anything to do with it because of it's spicy nature.

At the right time I'll give it a try and let you know what I thought of it and how Martha and her family liked it.  One of the pleasures in life is to try new things.  It doesn't mean that we have to like everything but at least we've tried them.  Will send an update soon!
Brussels Sprouts Kimchi
From the September 2013 issue of Bon Appetit
Makes 2 quarts

1-1/2 lb. small Brussels sprouts
1/2 small yellow onion
2 scallions
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup gochugaru (coarse Korean red pepper powder)
2 Tbsp. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed

Wash and trim the stems of the Brussels sprouts and but them in half.  In a large mixing bowl mix 3.5 ounces of salt with 2 quarts warm water.  Whisk until the salt is dissolved.  Add the Brussels sprouts and place a plate on top of them to keep them submerged in the brine.  Let them sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

While the Brussels sprouts are in the brine measure out and prepare all other ingredients.

Peel and coarsely chop the onion.  Slice the scallions.  Peel and crush the garlic.  Peel and grate the ginger.  Crush the coriander seed and the fennel seed.

After the four hours of soaking in the brine, drain and rinse the Brussels sprouts.  Place them in a large mixing bowl.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the onion, scallions, garlic, gochugaru, fish sauce, Sriracha, ginger, soy sauce, and coriander and fennel seeds.  Pulse until smooth.  Add to the bowl with the Brussels sprouts and toss.  I would suggest wearing kitchen gloves and tossing with your hands.  Pack the mixture to two 32-ounce canning jars, packing down to eliminate air gaps.

Combine the remaining .7 ounce of salt and 1 quart warm water in a large bowl, whisking to dissolve the salt.  Pour this pickling liquid into the jars to cover the Brussels sprouts, leaving at least 1 inch headspace.  Cover jars with lids.  Let sit out of direct sunlight at room temperature for about 3 to 5 days.  The kimchi should taste tangy and releases bubbles when stirred. Chill.

This recipe can be made and kept chilled for 2 months.