Vidushi Sharma, New Delhi
Kimchi is a traditional Korean recipe which involves the fermentation of vegetables. Every region has a different recipe for Kimchi so there are various types of Kimchi which you can find in Korea! It perfectly accompanies every Korean dish like Bibimbap, Ramyeon, Samgyeopsal, etc. The first time I saw someone making Kimchi was in a Korean variety show in 2018 and I have always been interested in cooking. Looking at the procedure of making Kimchi seemed strenuous but the end result looked so fulfilling when everyone savoured the taste of it. On the first try, you may not like the flavour of Kimchi but I promise on your 3rd or 4th try you will start to love it.
Fast forward to 2020, when everything and everyone was in lockdown, I had all the time in the world to try out things that I could not do due to my busy schedule. So, I searched for a vegan Kimchi recipe and found a really simple one which could be made with the things easily available in the house. The recipe I followed was from a YouTube channel called Maangchi. The link for the recipe is attached in the end for the ones who want to experience lip-smacking Vegan Kimchi. When I first watched the video, it seemed like a lot of ingredients had to be prepared, but as the recipe proceeded it eventually became easier.
So, let us now start with the experience, the first thing I had to do was to prepare the ingredients. I had to improvise the recipe a little bit due to the non-availability of a few ingredients but at the same time tried to stick to the original. I couldn’t find Napa cabbage, so I used the normal cabbage that we can find easily. The next ingredient that I had to substitute was rice flour, in place of it I used refined flour and for Gochu-Garu (Korean hot pepper flakes), I used half Kashmiri red chilli powder and half spicy red chilli flakes. The other ingredients which were used were spring onion, carrots, radish and ginger-garlic paste which is very easily available.
The process of making Kimchi was fairly easy for me as I was making a small amount and it took me around two hours to make it. Then was the most difficult part, the fermentation of the kimchi. Fermentation part is a very important part of kimchi making. If this process is not done properly, the taste of kimchi will also be altered; it was the most difficult part for me because I couldn’t resist from tasting it immediately. It took around three days for the kimchi to ferment and get sour. Finally, when I tried the first bite of it, I felt a heavenly delight, it was like a burst of flavours in my mouth. I never expected my first attempt to be successful!
The main flavours we experience in kimchi are sour, salty and umami. The taste also depends on the quantity of each ingredient you use in the recipe as per your taste buds. I added some extra chilli pepper so my kimchi was a bit on the spicier side. Ramyeon is the best accompaniment for kimchi, so I will suggest you put on your favourite K-drama and enjoy this combination! There are many varieties of kimchi that you may find like Kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi), Oi Sobagi (cucumber kimchi), Baek (white) Kimchi and many more but the most common kimchi which you will find in restaurants is Baechu (Nappa cabbage) Kimchi.
Kimchi tastes wonderful on its own, but when cooked with other things it tastes equally good. Some recipes you can cook with kimchi are Kimchi Bokkeumbap (Kimchi Fried Rice), Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew), and Kimchi-buchimgae (Kimchi pancake).
My first experience of cooking a Korean dish was successful and after this, I tried various other dishes as well, some were successful, some were a failure or I would say a learning experience, but my first kimchi will always be special! I would love for you all to try making this recipe and let us know your experience in the comment section below!
Here is the link for the recipe: