So great, you’ve made your first batch of mak kimchi and now you’re probably wondering what the heck to do with it? One word: pancakes.
I know it may sound strange, maybe even a little wrong, but relax, these aren’t pancakes of the sweet variety – these are spicy, savoury treats that make for the prefect snack or light meal. Simple and delicious, kimchi pancakes are a great way to get your kimchi-fix without having to go to the effort of making an elaborate Korean meal. Kimchijeon is perhaps my favourite way to eat kimchi; I love to eat mine with a fried egg, topped with some chopped spring onions, laver (Korean dried seaweed) and a dollop of chilli sauce! Kimchi-bliss…
When most people think of kimchi they usually have Mak Kinchi in mind. Made with napa (Chinese) cabbage it is perhaps the most commonly found variety of kimchi, especially outside Korea. Of all the kimchi out there (and there are many) Mak Kimchi is still my personal favourite; it is versatile, its ingredients readily available, and most importantly, it is easy to make.
I used to buy my kimchi ready made from my local Asian supermarket, but it wasn’t really spicy enough for my palette and that it often went off very quickly. I found the latter odd, given that kimchi is by its very definition preserved and therefore shouldn’t go mouldy after just a couple of weeks in the fridge.
Determined to make my own, I bought various kimchi making contraptions on my last visit to Japan. I scoured the internet looking for recipes and I stocked up on an obscene amount of Korean Chilli Powder. My first few attempts were a bit disappointing but eventually, through trial and error, I started to make passable Mak Kimchi. I must confess that I no longer use any of those weird and wonderful kimchi contraptions that I hauled all the way back from Japan. All you really need is a large glass jar, a little patience and you too can make your own kimchi!
I have no doubt that my attempts would be a mockery compared to kimchi in Korea itself; but thankfully I’m not in Korea. I live in Cape Town and here my kimchi is pretty damn good!