So wild garlic season is in full flow and I have been making the most of it, pestos, pakora, soups, sourdough, kraut and this rather delicious leek and wild garlic kimchi!
Kimchi can be made with many veggies, traditionally it is napa cabbage and daikon radish, with lots of other flavouring ingredients including garlic, ginger and chilli. Traditional recipes include fish sauce or shrimp, some add rice flour and versions can range from hot to smoke coming out of your ears extremely hot!
Now I am a bit of a chilli wimp so never make my kimchi really hot and I also prefer to make mine vegan so no pungent fish sauce or baby fish for me.
Wild garlic, like all greens is extremely nutritious, packed with vitamins, minerals and polyphenols and it tastes really garlicky so its perfect for a kimchi!
I decided to add some leeks too, which are a fabulous prebiotic, and available in Scotland all year round.
So this kimchi is a fast ferment, ready in around 5 to 7 days, with a lovely flavour and pleasing texture.
You can make this as hot as you like by upping the amount of chilli powder you use.
I use Korean gochugaru chilli powder, which I buy online.
You can substitute chilli flakes and a tsp of paprika, but I'd use no more than 1 tablespoon, but I am a chilli wimp, so try it and adjust to your own taste preference.
So here is my simple recipe;
2 medium leeks, washed and finely sliced
A colander full of wild garlic, washed and sliced, around 200g
1 organic eating apple, grated
1 tablespoon of finely chopped or grated ginger
1 tsp himalyan fine salt or any natural salt
2 to 4 tablespoons gochugaru chilli powder
Add the sliced leeks and sliced wild garlic leaves and stalks to a large bowl, add the salt and massage and squeeze the leaves until you have some brine.
Add the grated apple, ginger and chilli powder and mix well with your hands. If you don't have much brine then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for an hour or so. The salt will continue to draw out water from the cell walls. Try some of the mix and adjust the amount of chilli to your taste.
Pack tightly into a 500ml glass clip top jar, pressing down tightly to remove any air pockets. There should be enough brine to cover the kimchi.
Add a weight to hold all the veggies under the brine.
A small plastic ziplock bag scrunched on top works well or the bottom end of a butternut squash trimmed to fit the top of the jar, or a glass fermenting weight if you have one.
The idea is just to keep the kimchi submerged in the brine while it is actively fermenting, to create a safe and anaerobic environment for the beneficial bacteria to work their magic!
Then just close the lid, and put a bowl underneath the jar, and leave at room temperature for around 7 days.
Taste then if you are happy with the flavour, then transfer to the fridge, where it will continue to improve.
Your kimchi should have a wee sour tang, with a ginger zing and heat from the chilli, a touch of sweetness from the apple, and an underlying leek, garlicky flavour.
Magic happens when beneficial bacteria and yeasts get to work, creating amazing umami flavour, and that unique fermenty tang!
Kimchi will keep for months in the fridge, allowing you to enjoy it, well after wild garlic season has finished!
Fermented potatoes anyone?
I came across this idea in the awesome @pascalbaudar new book Wildcrafted Fermentation, this guy is seriously creative, and uses all sorts of wild edibles to ferment into culinary delights!
Ok potatoes aren't wild, nor are they terribly exciting, but oh my goodness fermenting them for a few days in a salt brine with some garlic, bay leaves and spices, transforms them into something quite exciting!
Now you may wonder why would you want to ferment potatoes, well potatoes are one of the nightshades family which a lot of people have problems with, it's mostly down to the starches which can cause gas and bloating, but when you ferment them, the lactobacillus bacteria break the starch down, problem solved!!
Fermented foods are literally pre digested by the lactobacillus bacteria, which means less work for our own digestive system, great news if your digestion isn't firing on all cylinders!!
So after 2 to 3 days languishing in my 3% salt brine, I drained my potato wedges, patted them dry and coated them in some rapeseed oil & more seasoning and baked them at 220C for 30 minutes for the best, tastiest potato wedges I have ever eaten!
You can cut your potatoes into thinner french fries if you prefer!
Preferably use organic potatoes, keep the skin on and just give them a quick wash to remove any dirt, then just fill a glass jar, add some spices and fill up with 3% brine solution. That's just 30g sea salt dissolved in 1 litre filtered water.
The other brilliant thing is the potatoes all sink to the bottom and stay under the brine so no need to weigh them down!
I served my wedges with some fermented tomato ketchup and they were scoffed in no time!
I will be making all my potato wedges this way in future!
Hope you try them, especially if you have a problem with nightshade veggies! You may just be able to eat these without gas or bloating!
Please let me know if you do try them!
Kimchi is the Asian equivalent of sauerkraut but has way more flavour, its spicy and delicious, flavoured with ginger, garlic and chilli pepper flakes but not for the faint hearted!!
Traditional kimchi involves an additional brining step which makes it a much longer process so I prefer this simpler but equally good method. You need to use Napa or Chinese cabbage, not the hard, white variety, which is used for sauerkraut.
A lot of traditional kimchi contains fish sauce and or shrimp, so my version uses seaweed flakes and tamari instead.
This is also simpler in that its just chop, grate and mix everything in a bowl, no need to make a paste with the chilli powder, ginger and garlic then massage it into the pre brined cabbage.
I am all for simplifying recipes, so long as they still taste great and have the same level of nutrition!
You can adjust the amount of chilli if you prefer less spicy food!
You can use either traditional Korean Gochugaru red chilli pepper powder or just standard hot chilli flakes. You can add a tablespoon paprika to give the authentic red colour, if you are just using chilli flakes.
The amount of chilli you add is entirely up to you, I would suggest anywhere between 1 to 5 tablespoons. The Korean chilli powder will list its spice level, which is very handy! Mine is medium hot so I add 2 tablespoons.
Try it before you pack the mix into your jars, and adjust spice level to your preference.
Bear in mind it won't become less spicy as it ferments so I would always err on the safe side and add less rather than more, but I am a chilli wimp!
Kimchi, like most fermented foods is fairly addictive, it wakes up your taste buds, with its spicy, zingy, salty, sour flavours, so its a good thing its a fast ferment! If you eat it all then you only have to wait 3 to 5 days for your next batch to ferment.
Napa cabbage can be found in Asian supermarkets, along with daikon/mooli/white radish, although Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsburys usually stock it.
Kimchi is delicious on a wrap, sandwich, baked potato, with steamed or fried rice and greens, blended into dips, with salads, or just on its own!
It livens up any plate of food!
So what are you waiting for, go and buy a Napa cabbage and some chilli flakes and make some kimchi!
I love these wee radishes, they are such a gorgeous colour and look great sliced in salads or added to stir fries at the last minute . One of my favourite ways to use them are in a delicious potato salad. Cold potatoes are high in resistant starch, which our gut bacteria love!!
These wee bombs are also a great digestive aid and will get your digestive juices flowing! The brine is a beautiful pink and can be used in salad dressings or just drink a small glass as a great tummy settler!
The brine is packed with probiotics and is really delicious!
🍃 Health educator🍃