Every now and then I wonder why I bother with this blog and Facebook page. The food blogging event I attended a couple of weekends ago has revived the passion and desire, but what can I do with it if I don’t have the time and space?
My parents visited us recently. I was especially excited for the visit not only because an extra pair of hands is always welcome with the kids, but because I’ve been waiting for over a year to make kaenip kimchi! My parents (actually my dad’s domain) have a bountiful garden at home. They started growing kaenip in their garden over 10 years ago. Sure I could’ve gone to HMart and bought a small stack of kaenip for an outrageous price, but I really wanted to grow my own. My parents mailed me some seeds and so was the beginning of my container garden. Yes, I have a whole yard, but since I didn’t really inherit my dad’s green thumbs and with my history of agri-failures, I am starting small this time. Baby steps.
My plants were still a bit small (about 2 feet tall), but I couldn’t wait any longer to get my hands on them. If you haven’t heard of kaenip or tasted them, it is better known as perilla. It’s a much more fragrant and bitter green than its cousin, shiso. Kaenip can be eaten raw or cooked – they are an awesome accent to ssam.
And of course when my parents visit, my mom takes over the kitchen and makes sure everyone is well-fed. To say that I love their visits is an understatement! We ate delicious and healthy Korean food the entire week. I took pictures of every meal for inspiration so that I could attempt to recreate these meals later on. With each day and every meal, my desire and motivation to cook was eventually fully restored. My parents are why I have this blog. Their lives are an inspiration to me.
I love my mom’s recipe for kaenip kimchi…salty, tangy, and spicy…very strong and bold. The store-bought versions are always a bit too sweet for me and I feel the sweetness sort of mutes the strong flavors. I could only make a small batch this time around. It barely lasted a week.
Note: Kaenip can be found at your local Korean grocery store.
2-3 ounces kaenip or perilla leaves
4 Tablespoons kochugaru (red pepper powder, coarse texture)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons fish sauce
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 stalks green onions, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons minced ginger
About 4 Tablespoons water
1 – Rinse the leaves thoroughly under cool running water.
2 – Let drain.
3 – Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add enough water to make the sauce spreadable, but not watery. It should yield about 3/4 cup.
3 – On a plate, stack 3-4 leaves. Hold stems against the plate (so the leaves don’t move) and spread about a spoonful of sauce on the leaves to cover the entire surface of the leaf.
4 – Stack another 3-4 leaves on top and spread sauce on top to cover. Repeat.
5 – Alternate the stack so the stems are not all on one side.
6 – If there is any remaining sauce, pour the the rest on top of the stack.
7 – Carefully transfer the stack to a clean storage container. Press.
8 – Let sit at room temperature overnight.
9 – The kimchi should be ready to eat the next day!