Everyone's guilty at one time or another of over purchasing at the grocery store or the farmers market. Fortunately, simple fermentation techniques developed over thousands of years of human history can help reduce food waste and add an interesting layer of flavor to a home cooked meal.
New York City-based chef David Chang heads a rapidly expanding culinary empire that includes such restaurants as Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar, and most recently Nishi. In 2014, Chang launched Kaizen Trading Company, a experimental fermentation laboratory and production facility located in a windowless Brooklyn warehouse. There, Chang's team develops and packages preserved foods such as hozon paste and bonji sauce — products used in Momofuku restaurants.
The following kimchi recipe comes from the Kaizen laboratory. It's a simple kitchen project for preserving napa cabbage. The process takes about 30 minutes and lets lactobacillus, a helpful fermentation microbe, do the rest. The result is a tangy, spiced kimchi that works well as a condiment or a side dish and keeps for six months to a year.
1 small head of napa cabbage
6 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup gochu karu, to taste
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. salted shrimp
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1 cup water, as needed
• Cut the cabbage into 1-inch pieces.
• In a large container, create a 15 percent brine solution by combining about a pound of sea salt for every 12 cups of water needed to fully submerge the cabbage.
• Brine the cabbage in the salt solution for 4-6 hours.
• Remove the cabbage from the salt solution and rinse thoroughly in freshwater.
• Blend the garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, soy sauce, gochu karu, fish sauce, and salted shrimp to a thin paste, adding water if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
• Combine the garlic mixture with the cabbage, scallion, and carrots and stir until well-coated.
• Pack the cabbage mixture firmly into a jar, pressing down to eliminate air pockets. Be sure to fully submerge the cabbage using excess garlic mixture, leaving about one inch of space from the top of the jar.
• Cover the jar tightly and place in a cool, dark place. Allow to ferment for three days to two weeks, depending on your preference — taste as you go. Kimchi made with fruits and soft, summer vegetables is best consumed within a few weeks, whereas kimchi made with hearty, winter vegetables can last up to several months.
Video: How to Make Momofuku's Kimchi at Home