Historically the fermentation technique was used as a way of preserving foods and drinks long before the days of refrigeration. During the process of fermentation, microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast or fungi convert organic compounds – such as sugars and starch – into alcohol or acids. For example, starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted to lactic acid and this lactic acid acts as a natural preservative. Fermentation can produce quite distinctive, strong, slightly sour flavours.
Our family is a big fan of fermented foods and so I thought that I would give fermenting some of our own foods a go. I started with this recipe for kimchi diakon – specifically to go into our Hoi Sin Tofu in Wombok Wraps. It really lifted the dish to another level!
3 medium to large diakon
1/3 cup coarse sea salt
3 – 4 spring onions
1 teaspoon chapssalgaru (glutinous rice powder)
1/3 cup of water
2/3 cup gochuagru (Korean red chili flakes)
1/4 cup saeujeot (salted shrimp)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
Clean the diakon by scrubbing with a brush. Cut into 1-inch thick discs, and then cut each disc into 1-inch cubes, placing in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the diakon and toss well to coat evenly. Let sit for about 30 – 40 minutes until the radish cubes have softened and released some liquid.
Meanwhile, make the glutinous rice paste by mixing together the chapssalgaru with the water over medium heat until it thickens slightly then allow to cool. Mix the gultinous rice paste with the gochugaru, minced saeujeot, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and sugar. Set it aside for a while for the red chili flakes to dissolve a little and become pasty.
Drain the diakon in a colander and discard the liquid. Place the radishes back in the bowl. Add the seasonings and spring onions. Mix everything well, preferably by hand, until the diakon cubes are evenly coated with the seasonings. (Make sure to wear kitchen gloves.)
Store in an airtight container or jar. Before closing the lid, press down hard with your hand to remove air pockets between the diakon cubes. Leave it out at room temperature for a full day or two, depending on the room temperature and how fast you want your kimchi to ripe. Then, store in the fridge. Although you can start eating it any time, kimchi diakon needs about two weeks in the fridge to fully develop the flavours.
Have you ever whipped up a recipe from my blog? I would love for you to let me know…So I don’t feel as if I am just writing all this stuff down for nothing… If you choose to whip up one of my recipes , then I would love for you to share it on social media, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #goodfoodweek.