Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Spring Preserves: Ramp Kimchi

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"

In the end, the owner actually seemed pleased that we were making kimchi. She suggested that we freeze any red pepper that we can't use. We left with her waving us good luck storming the castle--I mean good luck with your kimchi.

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.

Ramp Kimchi

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.


taste memory said...

totally impressed!

That looks yummy ~ I am not good at making kimchi....I keep trying and it just hits the mark. I'll try again this summer.

Thanks for visitng my blog ~ love reading about Cleveland food happenings!

maybelles mom said...

thanks so much for the compliments--and I have to say, do this tonight it is so good. I am afraid that I will never be able to replicate this...

michael, claudia and sierra said...

ok - name your price...
how much for that ramp kimchi?
can you be bought?

it looks amazing
i love the idea
i've never made kim chi
and i need to

great job
ummmm, how many jard didja make???

Chef Erik said...

I've never tried this, I though it was super difficult to make. Looks great too. Thanks for the comment on the Soba Noodles. As far as the sea beans, make sure to blanch them, and go lite on tamari, sea beans are extreamly salty. I don't even salt my water when I blanch them.

The CFT said...

Awesome. Really awesome.

Heather said...

That is a fantastic idea! And I love your blog - I can't wait to have a foodie baby of my own. :)

Pixie said...

I'm jumping up and down from excitement- such a fabulous entry for the event! Of course, I needed to research kim chi first as it's very new to me. You made me laugh about your food shopping experience.

Thank you so much for taking part in the event; I'm looking forward to the round-up!

Rosie said...

WOW I am SO impressed with your Ramp Kimchi it does look amazing :)

Many thanks for partaking in the event of Putting up :)

Rosie x

Swati said...

This looks so good..I love cabbage kimchi..would be glad if you could tell me how to make it ..

Anonymous said...

yum! that looks *incredibly* delicious!

I think the ramps around me are all gone, but maybe I could do this with green onions or a mixture of green onions and cabbage...

I was going to make spicy pickled eggs this weekend, and perhaps I could double my pickling efforts and make this too!

Anonymous said...

Yumm, I love this stuff. Thanks for the link!

Pixie said...

Hi again, Just wanted to let you know that the event is now up and running. Thanks again for such a brilliant entry.

Anonymous said...

Although ramp season may be over for this year, I've bookmarked this for next year. This kimchee looks great. I can't believe your daughter loves garlic -- that's a testament to your culinary skills, to be sure!

A Korean friend taught me her mom's kimchee recipe, but for the last 2 years we've received large jars of kimchee every 3 months from my husband's Korean co-worker. He insists that non-Koreans cannot make proper kimchee and so he brings us his wife's! I could hear the peals of laughter you describe at your grocer's -- I know it well. Well, we get free kimchee, so I don't stare this gift horse in the mouth! ; )