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!
🍃 Health educator🍃