It’s Fermentation Friday! I am excited to share with you my fever for ferments!
The ferment I have been making the longest is kimchi. When I lived on a US Army base in Japan as a child, most of my friends were Asian-American like me and it was quite common to have kimchi at potlucks. My mom’s friend Hitomi would often give our family kimchi. When I moved back to Texas for high school, it was hard to find kimchi without long drives to tiny Asian markets. After becoming vegetarian, it was almost impossible to find kimchi I could eat because it either had fish or seafood products, or was packed with preservatives or artificial colors. So I started to make it myself.
A couple years ago some local kimchi came on the market at Whole Foods, but it was not made with Napa Cabbage or with Korean red pepper powder.
Now there is an explosion of kimchi products made with awesome ingredients.
If you are in Austin and don’t think you have time to make kimchi but love to eat it, please support Oh Kimchi so they can expand and make more spicy goodness. I like Abbi’s vegan traditional kimchi and also the daikon.
My first kimchi experiments were done in a huge glass cookie jar you can get at IKEA or Target, with a little saucer to hold the cabbage under the brine.
I have wanted to stay away from plastic coming in contact with the brine and leaching chemicals. I had pinned some very expensive fermentation crocks on Pinterest 2 years ago because that’s what I thought you needed to make lacto-fermented veggies. Napa cabbage is huge and it’s worth it to make a whole bunch at one time. I may still make it like that from time to time, but I’m really excited about this new-to-me way to ferment.
I had been looking on Kickstarter this spring for vegan businesses to support and came across FarmCurious‘s fermenting kits. The airlock system was intriguing to me and looked so easy, so I decided to be a supporter and get a huge number of their Recap lids and airlocks.
When the kits arrived in August, I was so happy and started making stuff right away. I have made kimchi 3 times already!
If you are looking for a non-spicy kimchi, I recommend Maangchi’s Baek-kimchi (White Kimchi).
It is a traditional vegetarian kimchi. The only product I had a harder time finding were jujubes (Chinese dates) so I used some organic dates I had on hand. I think making it in a casserole dish would make for a prettier presentation but I was just jar happy!
So what do I eat kimchi with? So many things!!! Any Asian food with rice, in a burger, on french fries and it’s great as a pickle condiment in a Bloody Mary. But one of my favorites is actually pretty traditional. Bi Bim Bap (my post from 2009)!
I also like to make my own kochuchang, the fermented sauce that spices up your Bi Bim Bap. It contains miso which is a fermented soy/grain product that most people know as an ingredient in Miso Soup. It will be some time before I figure out how to ferment soy and pepper paste, so here’s my DIY vegan kochuchang.
- 5 TBSP miso (Aka or red miso is nice)
- 1 TBSP paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 TBSP sesame oil
- 1 TBSP brown rice syrup or agave nectar
- 1-2 TBSP water to thin
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Place ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Garnish with sesame seeds.
- 1 TBSP per serving
Next week Friday will feature a Vegan Muffaletta made with the home-fermented giardiniera you saw in the picture above. These garden veggies have been fermenting for almost 4 weeks and I’m excited to taste them. I’m going to try to make the bread from scratch too!
I also have some red jalapenos I want to make into fermented hot sauce.
Here are some fermenting resources I have been enjoying lately:
Ferm Up & The Everyday Fermentation Handbook by Branden Byers
This book is awesome for begineers and is actually quite a funny read. I love Branden’s take on microbes.
Wild Fermentation -Sandor Katz’s website. His book is like the fermentation encyclopedia!
Sean is now the food preservation expert on About.com
Kraut Source – I’m waiting for my sets to arrive as I supported the Kraut Source Kickstarter Campaign – They started following me on Instagram!
Come join me on my Pinterest Board – Ferment Fever
Have a great weekend and I hope to see you next Friday!