When one of the multinational appliance companies did a global study of fridge needs, in Korea, they found that housewives sought a fridge with a special compartment to house the kimchi. Why segegrate their national dish? Because, the fermented dish of preserved turnip and or cabbage, can be stinky. Though have we not all learned that stinky can mean yummy? (Think cheese.)
There are two basic branches of kimchi--summer and winter. The latter is the more odiferous and the way that fall's bounty would be preserved for the long, cold Korean winter. I myself am partial to the turnip. Though, sticky rice with a fried egg, cabbage kimchi and an ice cold beer is a wonderful meal.
Spring kimchi or seasonal kimchi, on the other hand, spices up the best of the season for short-term storage. I am all about quick gratification, and I have some seasonal goodies that I wanted to preserve (if only for a few days.) So seasonal kimchi, we made.
The word on the street was that the ramp season is basically over. But, since I saw the Preservation announcement on You Say Tomayto, I say Tomahto, I knew I wanted to make ramp Kimchi. And, this was the weekend to do it.
While we have had a good long time fulfill this Preservation event run by Pixie and Rosie, I put this project off because, well, I didn't want to explain my kimchi plans to my friendly Korean grocer. We have three Korean grocery stores close by. I frequent two of them almost equally--I want all good local businesses to succeed. But, whenever I am making something Korean, they are fairly incredulous. (Actually, I have found this a hallmark of all ethnic grocers.)
I had everything I needed except the special Kimchi pepper. When we walked in, the owner was having a fairly animated (though jovial) conversation on the phone in Korean. "No", "not true", "important business decision" all seemed to be key elements of her point, whatever it was. I was secretly swearing at whoever was winding up this lady.
When she got off, the owner stated she remembered us from previous shopping excursions, and then asked why after all those years of marriage, we didn't have children. If this woman wasn't so loveable, I would have been peeved or claimed to secretly be a man. After this surprisingly intimate small-talk, we explained our plan to make kimchi. The chuckle was fairly slow at first, but then she began to mention our plan to the other patrons..."kimchi blah blah blah in Korean HA HA HA blah blah blah in Korean"
Note: We worked out this recipe from a Mark Bittman article with a cucumber kimchi recipe. There are other few ramp kimchi recipes that I found online, one here and another at No Recipes. In addition, there is a great article on kimchi making courtesy of the North Korean government. We decided to make our vegan because we have laid off seafood due to environmental concerns.
Wash and dry:
2 bunches ramp greens
Salt the greens liberally with kosher or pickling salt (1/3 cup or less).
Create a paste of
3 T ground Korean chilies
4-5 ramp bulbs
1-2 cloves garlic
2 T garlic
2-3 T minced scallions
1/3 cup sesame oil
1 T amchur powder
Massage the greens with the paste and reserve in a non-reactive container. Eat after 1 day.