The other day, I ran to the grocery store as fast as my legs could carry me.  My sole intent was to try my hand at making kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables, namely cabbage.

Having never previously tasted kimchi, I wondered what it would be like.  Being Haitian, I grew up eating pikliz, a Haitian spicy relish also made of cabbage. I wondered how similar the two might be in flavor.  So, with my recipe adapted from Jeff Smith’s “The Recipe of our Frugal Ancestors“, I unloaded my bags in the kitchen.

You’ll need:

  • 6 lbs Napa cabbage
  • 1/4 cup Korean pickling salt or kosher salt
  • 8 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp candied ginger
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp salt

Modifications: Since I wasn’t able to find candied ginger, that portion was omitted.  The fresh ginger I did have could’ve been candied, but it was late and I wasn’t exactly sold on the major difference in taste this would offer.

I began by first removing the outer leaves. Quartered the cabbage lengthwise, then cut across the quarters in 1 1/2 inch pieces.  These pieces I placed in a large bowl with sea salt.  I massaged the salt into the cabbage leaves then let them sit for approximately 30 minutes.

Afterwards, the cabbage was rinsed and drained then tossed with the remaining ingredients and packed into a large mason jar.  Enough water was added to cover ingredients.

This sat for two days.  On the morning of April 10th, I took my jar of goodies out to the balcony to pose for sexy shots.  Unscrewing the lid resulted in a hissing sound from the gases emitted by the cabbage. A part of me was afraid of what might’ve happened had someone lit a match.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to find out.

So, as far as taste… is kimchi similar to pikliz? *drumroll*

[Maury Povich enters with results]: Kimchi, you are NOT the father.

While the two dishes serve similar purpose, kimchi has more of a sour note, which can be attributed to the fermentation process. Pikliz on the other hand is pickled with vinegar and citrus juice which gives it a bright, smack-your-lips, sort of flavor. Personally, I’m more fond of the latter, but this is probably because I grew up eating it (recipe for pikliz).

Well, that’s all folks. If you try either, let me know your thoughts.