Many recipes for Kimchi call for fermenting cabbage, or other vegetables, with some type of seafood in order to add an extra umami dimension. The seafood typically used is often Korean brined-shrimp, but oysters, octopus, and even fish guts are sometimes used. Here, in a twist on the more traditional blends, Conpoy and Dried Shrimp being added as the umami boosters.
If you have ever eaten in a Korean restaurant, you will almost certainly have been served at least one sort of Kimchi. Typically, it will come as one of the side dishes, called ‘Banchan’ that accompany most Korean meals. Banchans are often complimentary, and a meal may be accompanied by as little as one (invariably a dish of cabbage Kimchi, in that case) or there may be several different types of savory offerings.
Ingredients for Kimchi with Conpoy and Dried Shrimp
- 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 chili and onion into thin slivers as pictured above, then halve your cabbages and slice each half into strips about 2 inches wide.
Mix together the cabbage, chili 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 goodly amount of salty water is thrown off.
While the vegetables are macerating, reconstitute the dried shrimp and conpoy by putting them into a suitable container and pouring over boiling water to cover. Let this cool.
When the shrimp and scallop are soft, pour the soaking water into the chilli and, if necessary, add enough hot tap water to make a thick paste. Allow this to sit for a little while to allow the color to develop. If the Korean style powdered chili you are using is very coarse, you may wish to pulverize it in a spice grinder for a finer consistency.
Use a food processor to pulse the shrimp and scallop into a mealy texture.
Now, blend the Kimchi vegetable with the chili and shellfish.
Pack the product into a suitable container and pack it down. The veggies will throw off more liquid and you will want to ultimately 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.
As with any 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 coming along. Once the typical ‘sour’ aroma and taste appears, things are progressing nicely as they should be.
You can let your ferment go for just a few days, or so or, even a week, at room temperature. After that, you can put the Kimchi into the fridge where it will continue to ferment, although at a much slower rate.
Once the vigorous bubbling has stopped and the fermentation has really slowed, you can start eating your Kimchi. You really should resist the impulse to do so, though (if you can), as letting the pickle st and age for a bit really improves the flavor. This is especially true when seafood products are added, but is a good rule of thumb with any sort of Kimchi.