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Water Kimchi with Korean Pear

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Asian pear adds to this Water Kimchi.

Have you ever wanted to make your own the Korean condiment kimchi at home but didn’t want to dig a hold in the ground in order to let it ferment properly?

The Korean-born Marja Vongerichten has a whole cookbook of ideas called “The Kimchi Chronicles” (Rodale, $32.50) that is just right for you. The volume is a companion to her PBS series.

In the following example, there is no heat. As the author, who is married to celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, writes, “There are so many different kinds of kimchi, even one known as ‘bachelor kimchi” that uses small radishes with their green tops still attached, said to resemble to ponytails once typical of Korean bachelors. One of my favorite types is dongchimi, also known as water kimchi, a clean-tasting, refreshing kimchi made without any red pepper.”

Water Kimchi

1 head napa cabbage, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips
1/3 large white radish (moo or daikon), sliced into thin 1-inch-wide, 2-inch long rectangles (about 1 1/3 cups)
6 tablespoons coarse salt, divided use
1 Korean pear or Asian pear, peeled and sliced into thin half-moons
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
6 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine the cabbage and radish with 2 tablespoons of the salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes. Add the pear, garlic and scallions, and stir to combine. Pack the vegetables into 4 glass quart jars or a gallon plastic container. Meanwhile, dissolve the sugar and the remaining 4 tablespoons salt in 8 cups cold water and pour over the kimchi. Cover the kimchi and let set at room temperature for 2 to 4 days depending on how fermented you like it. After this initial fermentation, store in the tightly covered kimchi for up to a month in the refrigerator where it will continue to ferment and improve in flavor.

Makes 4 quarts.

From “The Kimchi Chronicles” by Marja Vongerichten


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