Monday, 23 April 2012

Wild Leek Greens Kimchi Recipe

April 22, 2012


SmartCooks here.  


Kimchi made with the greens of the wild leeks (ramps) -- that's what hit me as I looked over my carefully dug, cut, and preserved stash of early harvest wild leeks (ramps) sitting cleaned and drying on my kitchen island.  It was clear I had an overabundance of green leaves and not as many bulbs.  Not a problem..... 

The inspiration for kimchi is from one of my favourite foodie sites -- Hungry Tigress.  The Tigress used to write two blogs -- Tigress in a Pickle and Tigress in a Jam but combined them to one mega-site.  She's primarily a Canner (not me) but I'd tried some of her other posts like pumpkin muffins. The kimchi recipe seemed very straightforward so I decided to give it a whirl and do up a few jars.  


Kimchi (or kimchee)

First, a little about Kimchi, which I tried for the first time about a year ago ... travel or eat out much? ... not. 

Kimchi is well known in Korea where it was served for centuries at almost every meal. It was especially popular as a food to eat in the cold winters because of its high content of vitamins and minerals.


It is now mainly a condiment (or banchan) for rice and noodles.  There are hundreds of recipes for kimchi that vary by region and taste.  There's are also annual Kimchi Festivals with displays of regional dishes in clay pots (pictured left from a Korean website). 

Basically, kimchi is made from fermented raw vegetables, ranging from napa cabbage, daikon radish, wild leek leaves, to eggplant, scallions, and cucumber.  The taste varies widely, from pungent (the traditional pickled napa cabbage), spicy and hot (due to the red chili peppers), sour (from the fermentation process), sweet (from the pickling) to milder.  Buddhist monks, for example, make a mild version that does not use strong flavoured condiments or vegetables, opting instead for herbs, pine nuts, wild sesame, peanuts, pumpkin etc. 


The secret to the taste comes from the softened texture of the vegetables produced by salting.  Traditional kimchi recipes include seafood and fish sauce; vegetarians leave this out.  I prefer vegetarian versions.  I also prefer recipes that are more seasonal i.e., don't need to ferment for weeks and weeks.  


Kimchi is very healthy, with some studies showing it is one of the healthiest foods in the world; one serving can give more than 50% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C and carotene, and is packed full of antioxidants, thought to prevent cancer and other diseases. Kimchi is low calorie and low sugar but with high amounts of fibre (Tigress shows a plate of kimchi.)  


Wild Leek Greens Kimchi Recipe 
(Hungry Tigress inspired.) 


Ingredients:


1 bunch of wild leeks greens, cleaned, dried (enough for 1 gallon jar or 2 quart mason jars) 
1 T sea salt
1 tsp sugar
2 T aleppo pepper (or korean chile, or 1/2 cayenne & 1/2 sweet paprika)
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Directions:


1. Slice the wild leek greens in 1 inch sections by stacking the leaves on top of each other. 



2. Place greens in a bowl, add all other ingredients except the soy sauce and the sesame oil.  Toss to distribute evenly.


3. Stir soy sauce and sesame oil together and then add to greens.  Stir.

4. Put into the jar(s), let sit at room temperature overnight.  Place in the fridge. Every day or two give the jar(s) a shake or mix the kimchi with a spoon.  As it goes through the fermenting process the top greens should go down to the bottom. 



5.  The kimchi will be ready in about one week when the smell becomes mouth-watering.  Wild leek kimchi will last for months in the fridge.

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