It’s that tome of year to gather family members and begin the process of gimjang, or making kimchi for the winter season. Why not try something to match the snowy wonderland?
The most popular genre of kimchi is typically fiery-red, well-fermented Napa cabbage. At the start of winter, it is traditional for family members to work together to make an abundance of the national dish to ration throughout the cold months. During gimjang, it’s typical to create several types of kimchi, including “white” varieties that have less of a spicy kick.
One of the most popular of these is dongchimi, which is a tartly-flavored water kimchi. Dong means “winter”, denoting the time of year this dish is usually served. Its cool, crisp flavor complements most dishes and, unlike other types of kimchi, only needs to be fermented for a few days. Though dongchimi is typically a dish made at home, many restaurants will serve it as a side dish during the cold months.
To make dongchimi, all you need is a large storage container and a few ingredients: daikon radishes, mustard leaves, green and red peppers, garlic, salt and water (Asian pear can be added as an optional ingredient). Chop the medium-sized white radishes into thin, bite-size pieces and mix them with the coarse sea salt. Let the mixture sit for about an hour.
In the meantime, cut the tops off of the green and red peppers (extract the seeds for an even milder taste), thinly slice the garlic cloves and the Asian pear. Drain and set aside the salty mixture formed from the radishes. Place all of the vegetables into the large storage container and pour in water. Stir, and add the salty mixture from the radishes to taste. Close the container and let it sit for 2-3 days at room temperature before refrigerating and serving chilled in bowls.
2 daikon radishes
1 bunch of mustard leaves
2 green peppers
2 red peppers
10 cloves garlic
60 grams sea salt
2 liters water
1/2 Asian pear (optional)
Source: KOREA People & Culture Magazine, November 2011