Seems like the theme of this week is gimchi. I've never bought gimchi before and now I have so much I almost need a gimchi refrigerator! Yesterday we were invited to my gracious and generous Korean Mom's home to help make gimchi. She sped up the process a bit by buying cabbage that was already pickled. One of the other Korean Moms stopped by to help for awhile until she had to go pick her son up from school.
This Korean Mom (J) is really outgoing and chatty. She's actually planning on moving to Ontario in the New Year with her two sons so that they can learn English in a more natural environment. When we entered her home we were greeted by her husband and shown around the house. I wasn't that surprised to see that the largest room had been designated as the study room for her sons and that the walls were covered in certificates and other achievements and awards. Smart kids, hard workers.
Then it was time to get down to business. If you want to make gimchi you will need the following ingredients: pickled cabbage, daikon radish, green (spring) onions, garlic, ginger, chili pepper powder, oysters/shrimp, fish sauce, sugar. For an actual recipe you can go here though.
The first step involves a lot of chopping of vegetables. From this experience I learned that usually the man's job is to wash all the materials thoroughly and later mix things up (although I am sure the mixing is often done by women but J's Husband is really cool and helpful). Our main task was conquering the numerous daikon radishes, which need to be chopped in thin coins and then chopped further into thin strips. I have the blister to prove it. Plus all the work is done on the floor so the whole time you are either squatting, kneeling or sitting cross legged on the floor. My butt kind of hurts today. Haha!
So all the chopped veggies are thrown into a giant bowl and then in another container they mix the spicy sauce part of it. Next you have to start gradually adding and mixing together the two ingredients. Once you have a huge bowl of this you can start to make the actual gimchi. You break the head of lettuce up into quarters (approximately) and you carefully coat or paint each individual leaf on the head. Once you're satisfied with the amount of sauce on the cabbage you can pat it back into it's original shape and stick it in a container.
Here's a look at the finished product. Doesn't it make your mouth water a little bit? (N0? Just me then? ^^) After we had made some of it (since our time was constrained by having to go to work) then we spent a little time with J's boys, who had returned from Korean elementary school and were having some down time before attending hagwons. J also cooked us the most amazing lunch!! Because I have a terrible memory I can't remember what they call the small coins of pork. But you wrap it up in a white, pickled cabbage leaf and add some gimchi and yum! Plus she made us soup, rice, salmon and another kind of fish. The gimchi we ate was the stuff we'd just made. It was pretty spicy since we used strong pepper powder and since it hasn't fermented yet but it was delicious! After we stuffed ourselves we had a little bit of milk coffee and some persimmons.
Matt finished up his chess game and we had to go to work. Now we have one bag of gimchi in our fridge and two more fermenting on our windowsill. The bag with the pink dots is from the Mom that briefly helped us today and the brown bag is the gimchi we helped make! If you want to see a few more pictures of our gimchi making adventure you can go over here.