Community Recipes is a recurring feature where I share another woman’s vegan recipe with the Jewish Food Hero community. This week I’m featuring Sue Yoo. Sue is Korean and lives in Cambodia with her husband, where she runs the Moringa Health Center. Sue provides acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, as well as making homemade cosmetics and soaps. She is in her 50s and is one of those positive, intelligent and interesting women that makes you feel hopeful about growing older.
I first met Sue Yoo when I went to her for acupuncture. As usual, I got talking about food and after I mentioned my love of fermented foods, naturally we started discussing kimchi. When I was leaving she gave me a gift of a large box of this delicious, Korean fermented favourite to share with my family. I ate the whole thing by myself with rice for lunch and then I immediately messaged her to invite myself over for a lesson.
Sue Yoo’s original kimchi recipe includes fish sauce so I adapted her recipe to make it vegan kosher.
Sue’s recipe is special for these reasons:
- No refined sugar: Sue uses fresh pear juice and noni juice instead of refined sugar.
- Rice flour to rice paste: Sue makes a rice paste to create a creamier base for her kimchi.
- Tried and tested by somebody who really cares about health, this recipe has been refined and developed over decades.
I started making fermented sauerkraut a decade ago. When I moved to Asia, I tried making sauerkraut but it kept failing due to the extreme heat. So I moved on to kimchi. I love both the taste and the process of making it and was inspired to interview a fermentation expert Sandor Katz about its benefits. He said “fermented foods are so good for our bodies because bacterial fermentation populates foods with a vast communities of probiotic organisms which help restore biodiversity in our bodies and can help improve digestion, immune function, and may contribute to many other aspects of our well-being.”
It can be difficult to find kosher ingredients for Asian food, so I have sourced some of the key ingredients you will need for this recipe:
Vegan kosher fish sauce… Unsurprisingly, this can be a complicated ingredient:
- I found this compelling vegan fish sauce (but it is not kosher certified yet)
- DIY options
Making kimchi is therapeutic and fun. Enjoy Sue Yoo’s healthier kimchi recipe.
- Kitchen scale
- Measuring cups
- Tablespoon measure
- Large Colander
- Large metal kitchen prep bowl
- Small glass prep bowl
- Cutting board
- Good knife
- Rubber spatula
- Small strainer
- Sesame seed grinder
- Plastic cooking gloves
- Large glass jar with lid
- 3 kg Chinese cabbage - thin is better
- 1 cups of kosher salt
- 1.5 tablespoons vegan fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons noni fruit juice / concentrated organic apple juice
- 1 pear - grate, squeeze and strain to yield ½ cup of pear juice
- 3 fresh garlic bulbs, peeled and chopped to yield 6 tablespoons
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1-1.5 cups coarse ground chili powder (depending on how “spicy” you like your kimchi)
- 200-300g green onion - halved widthways
- 1 tablespoon ground sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole roasted sesame seeds
- First, prepare cabbage
- Remove one leaf of cabbage a a time (like removing a rose petal)
- Chop cabbage one leaf at a time: cut it lengthwise vertically into big, long slices (do not chop horizontally, you’ll regret it).
- Wash once
- Pour ⅕ cup of good salt into a 1 cup measuring cup
- Spread one layer of cabbage into big metal prep bowl
- Sprinkle some salt
- Add another layer of cabbage
- Sprinkle some more salt
- Repeat until all the cabbage is layered into prep bowl and 1 cup of salt is all used up.
- Prepare hot salt water solution by dissolving ½ cup salt in 1 cup hot water.
- Now add 1 cup cold water to salty solution
- Pour the 2 cups of salty solution over cabbage until it is submerged.
- After 1 hour: rotate the cabbage so that the bottom layer goes to the top and the top layer becomes the bottom layer
- Allow to rest for one more hour
- Drain the cabbage
- Now gently wash the cabbage 2 or 3 times (making sure not to mush it)
- Place washed cabbage in a large colander over the sink or an empty bowl and allow it to for 3 hours
- While the cabbage is sweating, make the rice paste
- Place 4 tablespoons of rice flour into soup pot
- Add 2 cups clean water
- Use a whisk and mix until smooth (i.e. no rice flour lumps are present)
- Put pot on the stove and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking the whole time
- Cook until it becomes a rice paste (i.e. looks a bit like glue)
- Take off heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes
- While the rice paste is cooling, prepare pear juice
- Peel the pear and then grate it
- Strain it over a small colander and set the ½ cup of pear juice into a prep bowl
- Place rice paste into large mixing bowl
- Add two cups of chili powder
- Mix chili and rice paste together using rubber spatula until completely smooth
- Add pear juice
- Add 2 tablespoons of noni juice (or organic apple juice concentrate)
- Add 1.5 tablespoons vegan fish sauce
- Add 6 tablespoons ground garlic (you can add less if you prefer less garlicky)
- Add 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- Mix to blend well - now you have your kimchi paste
- Put gloves on
- Add cabbage in batches and mix with the kimchi paste
- When all the cabbage is covered with kimchi paste
- Add green onion and fold together gently
- Season with roasted sesame seeds and ground sesame seeds
- Put in square or rectangular glass jar and press down so it is lightly packed so there is less air in the jar
- You may need put a weight onto the cabbage to ensure that is it submerged in the liquid while it ferments
- Leave outside to ferment for 6-18 hours (less time if you live in a warmer climate)
- Place in a fridge
Enjoy everyday with rice!