Recently, I posted a recipe for a Simple Kimchi, and I mentioned that, in more complex varieties, Korean often boost the umami quotient of the pickle by include things like oysters, brined shrimp, or even fish guts. Today’s recipe does just that using shrimp and scallop except that, in this case, I am using Chinese style dried shrimp and scallops (the latter known as ‘conpoy’. I am also departing from the method I used in the Simple Kimchi recipe by using the slightly more traditional method of making chilli paste from scratch rather than using the pre-made Korean ‘Gochujang’ …
- 2 medium sized Napa Cabbage;
- 1 medium Onion;
- 1 large mild green Chilli;
- ½ cup Korean style red Chilli Powder;
- ½ cup Chinese Dried Shrimp (one of the smaller varieties);
- 8 – 10 Conpoy;
- 3 Tbsp. coarse, non-iodized Salt.
First, slice your chilli and onion into thin slivers. Also, halve your cabbages and slice each half into strips about 2 inches wide.
Mix together the cabbage, chilli and onions and stir in the salt, massaging it into the vegetables. Allow this to sit for a few hours until the vegetables are soft and a food deal of water is thrown off.
While the vegetables are macerating, put the shrimp and conpoy into a suitable container and pour over boiling water to cover. Let this cool, at which point both should be rehydrated and soft. By the way, I have actually used a little more of both shellfish than the recipe calls for as I want to use some in another recipe.
When the shrimp and scallop are soft, pour the soaking water into the chilli and add sufficiently more hot tap water to make a thick paste. Allow this to sit for a bit to allow the color to develop. If the Korean style powdered chilli you are using is very coarse, you may wish to do as I did and pulverize it in a spice grinder for a finer consistency.
Use a food processor to pulse the shrimp and scallop into a mealy texture. Again, the amount you see here is almost twice what I will be using for my Kimchi.
Now, blend the Kimchi vegetable with the chilli and shellfish.
Pack the product into a suitable container and pack it down (I am using the meat tenderizer shown in the picture). The veggies will throw off more liquid and you will want to end up with enough to cover the Kimchi itself. Keep pressing occasionally and if, by the next day, there is still not enough liquid, you can add just a little warm water to achieve this.
By the way, the container here arrived back from Korea with my wife about ten years ago. It originally held a ‘Water Kimchi’ (a brine ferment without chilli), and I have used the container many times over the years.
Here is my batch on the second day. I did have to add a little water (about half a cup) and that was enough to achieve coverage. I should note that, when I was doing this, a couple of bubbles appeared, probably indicating that the ferment had begun. As with the Simple Kimchi recipe, keep the mix at a low ‘room temperature’ for the first little while and keep checking every day or so to see how things are progressing. Once the typical ‘sour’ aroma and taste appears, things are progressing nicely. You can let it go for just a few days, or a week or so, after that, you can put the Kimchi into the fridge where it will continue to ferment at a much slower rate and the flavours will develop nicely. I would leave it at least three weeks before starting to eat it (if you can wait that long).