Category Archives: Accompaniments (sauces, pickles, etc.)

Accompaniments of any sort – including chutneys, pickles, relishes, sauces, dipping sauces, toppings, etc.

Homemade Kimchi

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are over 150 cataloged different kinds of kimchi. However, the most common, traditional kimchi is the one made with Napa cabbage. Since the process is rather lengthy, the long MLK weekend seemed a good time to attempt it. I’ll share this recipe step-wise with photos.


Step 1 – Cut one large napa cabbage into quarters. Wash it under running water. Sprinkle between all the leafy layers with a total of 1/2 c. coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Place in a large pot or bowl and add water until just covering the cabbage. Top with something heavy to weigh down the cabbage under the liquid. Let it sit for about 8 hours or overnight.

rice paste

Step 2 – Meanwhile, make a rice paste, which is the base for the kimchi paste that flavors the kimchi. Whisk together 1/2 c. sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour, available at Asian markets) with 1 c. water. Whisk continually over high heat until it just begins to thicken, then remove it from the heat, whisk until smooth, and allow to cool.

kimchi paste

Step 3 – Blend together the cooled rice paste with the following;

3/4 c. Korean red pepper flakes
1/4 c. fish sauce
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 c. minced garlic
1/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. salt
3 c. water
1/4 c. minced onion

kimchi paste final

Step 4 – Into the seasoned paste, add the following;

2 oz. each mustard greens and watercress, cut into thin ribbons
1 bunch green onions, sliced into small pieces
1 daikon radish, peeled and grated

Step 5 – After 8 hours of soaking, remove the cabbage quarters from the salt water and rinse 2 or 3 times under running water to remove salt. Place in a colander to drain for at least 30 minutes. What we’re trying to do here is remove as much water from the cabbage as possible. Mine still ended up getting pretty watery as it fermented, so next time I plan to make sure the water is very salty and let it sit in the salt water for 10-12 hours.

spreading paste

Step 6 – Wearing latex gloves to protect your hands from the pepper sauce, rub the prepared kimchi sauce in between each layer of the cabbage, making sure to cover all the surfaces. A video on the Aerie’s Kitchen website does a good job of showing the process.

final kimchi

Step 7 – The first recipe that I looked at called for a 1-gallon glass jar, or 4 quart jars, but I don’t have that many glass jars. You can buy the quart size in the canning section, but then you have to purchase 12 jars at a time!  So I followed the advice of another recipe that suggested using freezer bags. I packed all four quarters into one gallon-sized freezer bag and zipped it closed, trying to remove as much of the air as possible. Then I double-bagged it just in case there was any leaking.

The recipes suggested to let the kimchi sit at room temperature for 24-36 hours to start the fermentation process. I went with 36 hours since my house is cooler right now in the winter. Then put the kimchi in the refrigerator for another week before opening it up to taste.

Adapted from: Discovering Korean Cuisine, ed. Allisa Park

Update from a few days later:  The plastic freezer bag worked ok, but still allowed the strong smell of the kimchi to permeate the kitchen. I was worried that it would affect the flavor of everything in my refrigerator, so ended up transferring it over to a smaller quart canning jar, a freezer box and a glass bowl with lid (both put into plastic bags too.  This seemed to help contain the smell.

The kimchi itself is pretty tasty though not overly spicy. Now that I know what has gone into it I appreciate it more than I did previously. I’ll be trying a couple of recipes that use kimchi as a main ingredient, and will show you more photos of the final product in that future post.


Pine Nut Salad Dressing

Pine nuts are apparently a common ingredient in Korean cooking, who knew? Just a quick salad dressing recipe today. Homemade vinaigrette salad dressings are so much more delicious than store-bought ones, and this recipe has no oil or fat added – other than the fat in the pine nuts – so it’s also very healthy.


Pine Nut Mustard Dressing
1/2 c. pine nuts
6 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. honey
1  1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. water

Blend all ingredients together. Toss with your desired salad ingredients. I kept it simple with red pepper, celery and mixed greens.


I made a healthy and delicious meal with this salad and the Braised Tofu from my last post.


Recipe adapted from: The Korean Table, by Chung and Samuels

Spicy Fresh-pickled Daikon

It would be difficult to get very far into authentic Korean cooking without entering the world of kimchi, spicy fermented/pickled vegetables. There are hundreds of different kinds of kimchi, made with many different kinds of vegetables – including the traditional cabbage, bok choy, green onions, and daikon radish.

While the following dish is more of a fresh pickle, not a fermented kimchi, it does share the same Korean red pepper as an ingredient. Shown below is a photo of the pepper that I picked up at my local grocery – believe it or not, this 1 lb. bag was the smallest on the shelf!

red pepper poundThough the pepper is spicy hot (as promised) I am amazed at how sweet and flavorful it is, almost like a sweet hot paprika – but much more coarsely ground.  I’ll try my hand at making real kimchi sometime soon, it involves making a red pepper paste of this stuff and working it in with the vegetable(s) of choice, then setting the dish aside to ferment for varied lengths of time before consumption.

Korean red pepper

The recipe I made this weekend however, is a simple fresh pickle that can be eaten immediately. It is a recipe from The Korean Table (Chung and Samuels). The recipe uses daikon radish, which can be found in Asian or Indian markets (Indians call it ‘mooli’).


Spicy Fresh-pickled Daikon
1 about 1 lb. daikon radish (this would be a small radish, or part of a larger one)
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar

Peel the daikon and cut it into matchstick shapes of the desired size. Toss with salt and sugar and set aside for 15-20 minutes. This will draw out a lot of liquid from the radish, which can be drained and discarded. Then add;

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. Korean red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. ginger juice (from grating fresh ginger very finely)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. roasted sesame seeds

Toss everything together and use right away or store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Eat it with rice and meat, or braised tofu – it adds a nice crunch and sweet/sour/spicy flavor. It will of course get softer as it sits, and it will only keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

daikon relish

Moroccan spices

Two spice blends are used regularly in Moroccan cooking, and I haven’t been able to find either one of them available in a store – so I made my own. Ras el Hanout is a dry spice mix that can include up to 30 different ingredients. [Update: A Ras el Hanout mixture IS available from the Savory Spice Shop! Should have checked there, but then I couldn’t have made the lovely spice diagram below :)] 

Each recipe I’ve read is a little bit different – and the amounts are varied based on individual tastes. Here’s one I made that was a mixture of two different recipes.

The most interesting ingredient is “grains of paradise“. This ingredient actually wasn’t listed in the cookbook recipes, but it was mentioned that the mixture sometimes contains it. Although it’s a rare spice to find here in North America, I had purchased some of it recently at the Savory Spice Shop – it has a really nice peppery flavor.  Here’s what it looks like, all blended together:

Harissa is a paste of spices and chiles that can be blended together and stored in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks. Some recipes called for straight dried chiles and others added a bit of roasted red bell pepper – so I made a combination of the two. Even with the sweet red pepper to tame it a bit, this sauce still has quite a kick!  I used 1 Tbsp. of the mixture in my recently posted BBQ Chicken recipe. Here’s the recipe again:

Harissa (hot pepper sauce)*
8 dried red chiles (remove seeds)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
1/4 c. olive oil

Soak the dried red chiles in hot tap water for about an hour. Then drain and squeeze the extra water out of the peppers. [you may want to use gloves to handle the peppers, or at least remember not to rub your eyes afterwards!]

Grind the dried chiles in a mortar and pestle. Then blend together all ingredients into a paste in a food processor or mortar and pestle. You will use 1 Tbsp. of this in the marinade recipe, the rest will keep well in the refrigerator for use in other dishes.