Kimchi (sometimes spelled kimchee) looms large in Korea’s foodie universe, playing the role that sauerkraut does in Germany, pickles do in Eastern Europe, and encurdito (vinegar-cured vegetables) does in Latin America. That is to say, a sour-spicy condiment loaded with soulful fermented flavors that go great with Asian grilled meats.
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Koreans make literally hundreds of different kinds of kimchi, ranging from the familiar napa cabbage version to exotic fermented seafood kimchis, each with its own unique constellation of flavors. Like all fermented vegetables, it is alive and changing—crunchy and tart when fresh, and acquiring deep funky flavors as it ages. Sure, you can buy kimchi at Asian markets and in the produce section of many supermarkets, but it’s easy—and satisfying—to make at home. You’ll need one special ingredient—gochugaru (Korean chile flakes), which you can purchase at a Korean market or online from Amazon. For a vegetarian version, substitute miso for the fish sauce. Here’s how my assistant, Nancy Loseke—a Korean food fanatic—makes it.
Serve kimchi with bul kogi (Korean grilled rib eye) or kalbi kui (Korean grilled short ribs). Pile it with grilled beef or pork on tortillas to make Korean-style tacos. Serve it with the Korean Pulled Pork. It goes equally well with Western-style slow-smoked proteins, such as pork shoulder, brisket, and pork or lamb belly.
— Steven Raichlen
Excerpted from Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades—Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Matthew Benson.