Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Peach Fig Kimchi

I made a similar condiment 2 years ago and it was a huge success. I didn't measure it then and I didn't measure it now. I'd compare it to mango chutney before kimchi but it is made in the kimchi style. "Real" kim chi is a korean fermented cabbage condiment/salad/side dish. It generally contains cabbage, daikon radish, sometimes carrots, chili, garlic, scallion/onion, ginger, sometimes fish sauce. It is sour but there is no vinegar added when made correctly; the sour flavor is all from lactobacillus fermentation. There are tons of different recipes using a wide range of ingredients, sometimes even fruit.

Peach Fig Kim Chi

5 Peaches, chopped
1/2 lb Figs, chopped 
bunch Garlic Chives, diced
1 Shallot, minced
1 inch knob Ginger, microplaned
2 jalapeno, minced

Chop peaches and figs coarsely, put in a strainer set over a bowl, salt heavily and stir. Stir a few times while chopping the other ingredients. Combine everything in a quart mason jar and leave loosely capped for about a week. (Its ok for air to get in but no bugs!) Stir every 12 hours.

By chopping and salting the fruit before adding the other ingredients, a significant amount of liquid is drawn out of the fruits. When making kimchi, you want everything to be submerged in liquid, not exposed to air. By pre-salting the fruit, you also insure that any bits that do get exposed to air above the surface of the brine (or in this case fruity/ mushy/ briney stuff) will be salty enough that they wont mold. Stirring frequently reincorporates any bits that are near the surface, as well as slowly mashing it up. I use a chopstick. The fruit has so much liquid that I remove some at the start so that when finished it will have a nice, thickened, almost chunky applesauce texture.

A microplane is a superfine super sharp grater that is great for ginger, citrus zest and hard cheese. I always use it for ginger. You get really fresh, juicy ginger and are left holding some of the stringy pulp instead of eating it. I used garlic chives because they are so prolific in my garden. (You could use scallions and garlic instead.) They are a little bit tough raw sometimes and I was concerned about the texture in the finished kim chi. Luckily, they worked out fine chopped small and fermented for a week.
Peach Fig Kim Chi, after a week of stirring twice a day.

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