So he went and got the 2 kilo container of kimchi. He eats a lot more kimchi than I do. I’m absolutely fine if there is no kimchi on the table. I like it and usually eat a little bit, but I’m not that concerned if we forget it.
We usually don’t have much in our fridge… but it’s important to always have kimchi! I’ve mentioned before how we share an apartment because rental prices are so high in Sydney and we live in an area close to the city. Unfortunately sharing has a lot of downsides and I don’t feel comfortable cooking a lot in the kitchen. Also we still live very much like students and there is a big supermarket right near us so we just buy things as we need them. That does mean that some days there isn’t much in the fridge.
Making kimchi for your Korean husband is stressful. It is something so important to Koreans so there is a lot of pressure to be able to make it. It’s my job to make it – not because my husband is old fashioned and thinks it’s the woman’s job – but because he simply doesn’t really possess any cooking skills. Is this typical of Korean guys? Not at all, many Korean guys are excellent cooks.
So not growing up in a Korean home, I’m immediately at a disadvantage when trying to make kimchi. There is no family recipe passed down, I have no childhood memories of watching my mother make kimchi, and I’m not even sure what really good kimchi tastes like.
I follow recipes but every recipe is different! I feel like it’s going to be years of experimenting before I work out which one I like to use. Some say for anchovies, some say for oysters, some say to just use that fish sauce stuff.
One of the first times I made kimchi my husband was really impressed. He even told other Korean guys how good at making kimchi I was. Unfortunately, that might have been a one time thing. The next time something went really really wrong. I’m pretty sure it was because I didn’t use the right type of salt. It was upsetting. I managed alright the next time but it still wasn’t as good as the time I got it perfect. I haven’t tried in a few months because we’ve been busy with travel and stuff and currently my husband is in Sydney while I am in my home town. He is job and apartment searching. BUT, today I am traveling to Sydney and I will see him tonight!
Once we are settled in Sydney I will have to attempt making kimchi again…
Pikelets are a type of sweet mini pancake/hotcake. My siblings and I ate them a lot when we were younger. Usually they are eaten with just butter or with jam and cream.
I’ve taken the recipe for Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi pancake) and modified it to make Kimchi pikelets. I use wholemeal self raising flour because it gives it more texture which is better for a savoury type of pikelet/hotcake. The salt and sugar quantities can be adjusted to individual taste. This recipe makes about 8 – 10 but the ingredients can be doubled to make more. It’s a very quick and easy snack to make.
3/4 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 cup kimchi (chopped or cut into small pieces)
1 – 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice (the liquid that collects in the bottom of a container of kimchi)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1- 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt (or to taste)
olive oil (or any other type of oil that can be used for frying)
1. In a bowl put the flour, sugar and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon.
3. Add the egg and kimchi juice and stir well.
5. In a frypan add 1 – 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat on a medium heat and using just a normal size spoon put in some of the mixture. Since these are pikelets you don’t want them too big.
6. The pikelets will now start to rise a bit. To check they are ready to turn over, use a spatula to lift up one slightly. If it’s a nice golden brown colour flip them over.
7. Take the cooked ones out and continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with a dipping sauce. Anything you like is fine. I tend to use soy sauce and sesame oil.
I remember my first experience with kimchi was not actually eating it but watching some Korean friends make it. Well one step of making it. These Koreans were in my home town for a working holiday and where I’m from you can’t just go pick up a tub of kimchi from the supermarket. One time when hanging out with them I watched them salting the cabbage and putting into containers but I did not realise how important this thing called kimchi was!
Flash forward to living in Sydney with Koreans. I did not know what kimchi tasted like but I knew I didn’t like the smell of it! Every time someone opened the fridge the whole living area would fill with the smell of kimchi and I would gag (and probably complain).
I would refuse to eat it if anyone offered it to me. Keep in mind that I was a very picky eater at the best of times. It wasn’t until later when I actually started eating Korean food and a friend would wash the kimchi in some water to get rid of the spice and then give it to me to eat. “Hmm, not bad,” I thought. Gradually I became used to it until I was eating it like a normal person. And now I love it. Oh and now I also make it! But, the trials of kimchi making will be talked about in some other blog posts.
Kimchi is one of those things that if you didn’t grow up eating it… well it can take a while to really enjoy eating it. Or maybe some people will never be able to enjoy it (like non-Australians and vegemite). But if you are going to marry a Korean you better get used to it as it’s pretty much eaten with every meal!
Do you like kimchi?