7.301 The Kimchi


1 (Tue) November 2016

The Kimchi


from The Kimchi Jjigae

at home

-One Serendra, Taguig-

with W and the Boyz .

Whereas my mother’s is the best homemade (see generally 5.070 Mom’s Kimchi), IT’s is the best factory-produced kimchi (see most recently 7.210 SPAM Curry Rice) — and by “best,” yes, I mean “best,” objectively, not merely “my personal favorite,” subjectively.  He gave us another pair of dimebags, which we brought back from our recent trip to Korea.

100% of households in Korea — any home containing a functional family, earning a certain minimal level of income (e.g., enough money to afford a color TV) — will own at least one kimchi refrigerator, often two or more; temperatures can be set for various functions, including initial fermentation, then subsequent preservation; other settings may apply for storage of fresh fruit/veg, meats, wines, etc.; ours is an old-school drawer type, well over 15 years old, acquired upon marriage as a hand-me-down from my mother (in fact, I refused the gift of a newer model because I wanted this one), shipped here with our other furniture from Korea (again, fought to keep it, rather then buying a new one).
10 kg x 2.
One bag (10 kg) enough to last us 1.5 months (45 days) (we finished the previous 2 bags in exactly 3 months) = 222 g per day = 55.5 g per person (4 persons) per day.
Transferred to a lidded container, designed for convenient kimchi storage, apparently in batches of exactly 10 kg.

Pogi kimchi is the dish in its traditional/fundamental/ideal method and form.  As the name would suggest — “pogi (포기) = head” — and as illustrated in the photos below, the labor-intensive process is all about preserving the wholeness of the cabbage.  By comparison, the simpler/quicker/inferior mak kimchi — “mak (막) = chop” — involves chopping the cabbage first, then mixing everything together, which facilitates mass production, commonly served in cheap restaurants and sold by the jar in supermarkets (see for example 5.034 Made-in-Manila Kimchi …), but the result is an indiscriminate mess.  With pogi, the cabbage leaves are kept intact until the point of consumption, producing a far more vibrant taste and texture in every bite.

(Something of a hybrid between the two, bossam kimchi involves pre-chopped cabbage wrapped in a whole leaf (see generally 2.336 … with Bossam Kimchi) — “bossam (보쌈) = blanket wrapped.”)

Each head is halved/quartered lengthwise, leaves individually salted.
After the stuffing (red chili, garlic, ginger, onion, radish, fish sauce, sugar) is layered between each leaf, the head is fermented as a bundle.
Sliced into bite-sized pieces just prior to serving.
The inside of each leaf remains pristine, as this cross-sectional cut reveals.
Also ensures a supply of cores, which are typically cut out in the making of mak kimchi, but I love to gather them for use in stews (see for example 6.243 Ggongchi-Kimchi Jjigae).

I’m still working to perfect my own kimchi, which at this point remains mak (see most recently 7.166 White Cabbage Kimchi), though I gotta get pogi with it.

And every bite comes with the perfect amount of stuffing.
Third best dish that goes with kimchi (see also 7.135 Geotjeoli …).

5 thoughts on “7.301 The Kimchi

  1. These pics are A+. Thanks for almost making me slobber all over my keyboard at work.

    “getting pogi with it” – SO BAD. Thanks for making me wince in my chair at work.

    1. i really had no aspirations of literary whammo when I wrote “gotta get pogi with it,” but apparently it’s struck a chord with my core readership, so I’m gonna run … with it.

  2. i wonder what japanese people would think about kimchi as an accompaniment to japanese curry rice. do they eat kimuchi along with the curry rice? (maybe, silly question?!)

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