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You Can’t Be Serious… – Serious Eats Kimchee Recipe

Kimchee holds a special place in my heart. It’s not only because I’m Korean by heritage but my mother makes some damn fine kimchee and has been doing so for as long as I can remember. Sure, I could be considered somewhat bias but a lot of people who’ve had it have gone out of their way to praise it or even go so far as to pay money to secure a portion of the next batch. You’ll have to trust me on this one :)

Photo courtesy of the Serious Eats website.

Anyhow, with that in mind, when I came across this Serious Eats article on kimchee, I’d initially approached it with a fair amount of skepticism.

The recipe for making this version of kimchee involves some ingredients that I would imagine most Koreans would scoff at. For one, Sriracha, a bottle preparation of Thai style chili sauce, is used as the source of the kimchee’s fire. I like Sriracha, I use Sriracha and I even occasionally buy Sriracha. However, to use it for kimchee? Nah, too left of field for my mind.

Then there is also the addition of applesauce. Now, it’s not unheard of for Korean recipes to include fruit pulp but I’ve yet to experience any kimchee worthy of mention that has.

Normally, I would have just dismissed this as an over Westernisation of the recipe to make it more accessible for the average home cook or, at best, the recipe of a Uni student trying to be too clever with their creative use of whatever was lying around to get their kimchee fix. However, the curious side of me wants to see how bad or, oddly enough, how good this version of kimchee can be. Was the single consulted Korean “expert’s” praise of it being “surprisingly tasting pretty good” one made with sincerity or out of politeness?

I’ll be looking to attempt this recipe soon to see whether it’s worthy of the claims made. I’ll also look to provide photos of each relevant stage of the process so you have a better understanding of how to attempt this as home, if that so happens to be your desire.

Watch this space :)

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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • smileona May 14, 2009, 5:20 am

    I remember when i first had kimchi i loveeeeed it!!! then again i love anything spicy with fire lotssss of fireee!

    Shall look forward to your kimchi attempt ^_^

  • FFichiban May 14, 2009, 10:50 am

    Kimmmmchiiiiiiii! Ooh your mums batch sounds tasty! What do you think about adding Afterdeath ;)?

  • billy@ATableForTwo May 14, 2009, 10:59 am

    ooohhh…. like the Malaysian.. THE KOREAN HAS SPOKEN!!!

    not that I am a kimchi expert, but the idea of having sweet chilli sauce in kimchi sounds terrifying already…

    looking forward to ur recipe.

  • YaYa May 14, 2009, 12:50 pm

    I read the Serious Eats article as well and wondered how well adding applesauce etc to the traditional method of making kimchee would work, not being Korean, I’m not an expert but looking forward to your taste test, good luck!

  • Simon May 15, 2009, 1:02 am

    Hi smileona! Thanks :)

    I love kimchee too but the really hot ones that challenge you are somewhat off-putting for me. I feel with good kimchee, you should get a kick, not a burn.

    Hi FFichiban! Afterdeath? Seriously? My previous comment pretty much sums it up. Would be a nice practical joke to play on an unsuspecting Korean though :)

    Hi billy! LOL! Perhaps I have, though I’d rather say that I call it as I see it. In all fairness though, I’m going to be opened minded about this and see if I can make the recipe work, as written.

    Though it does contain sugar, Sriracha isn’t particularly sweet. I wouldn’t even attempt such a travesty if it incorporated sweet chili sauce!

    Hi YaYa! Though I’m Korean, I’d hardly call myself an expert. Just someone with an opinion.

    I’d curious about the applesauce as well, which is partly the reason why I’m going to give this a go.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 15, 2009, 4:03 am

    Applesauce? :O I so did not expect that! Look forward to hearing all about it.

  • Y May 15, 2009, 11:42 am

    How is the kimchi experiment going then? I’d be interested to read your thoughts about the end result. Applesauce seems like an odd inclusion.

  • Yas May 16, 2009, 4:29 am

    Ohhh nice!!
    Looking forward to seeing the progress! (“tasting gathering” request implied LOL)

  • Simon May 17, 2009, 6:57 am

    Hi Lorraine! I wasn’t expecting applesauce either. Whether it works or not, it’ll be interesting either way.

    Hi Y! I’ve gotten the necessary ingredients. Looking to start complete it over this coming week :)

    Hi Yas! Thanks! I’ll have to see whether it’s worth a meet up for this :)

  • Forager May 17, 2009, 7:22 am

    Now, the question is will you share your mum’s kim chee recipe, and failing that, will you share your mum’s kim chee? Por favore? ;)

    Looking forward to your experiment with the serious eats recipe either way. Apple sauce sounds intriguing!

  • Simon May 17, 2009, 1:03 pm

    Hi Forager!

    The recipe, unfortunately no. I don’t even really know it yet myself though I’ve been trying for some time to get it. Even if I do, of all the good things my mother cooks, I think I’ll keep this one as the single family secret recipe :)

    The kimchee itself? If you’re serious, I’m sure that we can come to some arrangement (DM on twitter). Heck, if the timing’s right, I’ll even throw in some of the Serious Eats kimchee as a point of comparison :)

  • Anita May 21, 2009, 11:32 am

    Never tried it :( Good luck with the recipe, hope it turns out well. The photos certainly looks delicious! :)

  • Jerry May 24, 2009, 1:39 am

    I have the Serious Eats recipe in the jar working on it’s second day. Just a round eye who loves kimchi,

    Applesauce makes it thicker than any I’ve tried, but two tablespoons of Sriracha puts plenty of fire on the tongue. Funny, I never considered Sriracha a *sweet* sauce.

    Let you know how it finally turns out.

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