Cooking With: Kala's Kimchi
Welcome the Queen of Kimchi: Kala Sung. A chef from New York now lives in Copenhagen and creates modern and traditional variations of Kimchi with a seasonal and creative touch. Keep reading if you want to know why she insists on being an advocate for fermenting vegetables, why she believes it has gained superstar status in western cuisine and how to welcome it into your kitchen.
What’s your history with Kimchi?
Kimchi is an inherent part of my DNA as a Korean and has followed me throughout my life - from my mother teaching me how to make it, making it in my dorm room in college, to now doing pop-ups, courses, and collaborating with restaurants on Kimchi.
Why is Kimchi important to Korean culture?
We don’t even think about it; we eat it. Like why do Danish people eat rye bread or Americans Ketchup? I watch Danish people eat buns with butter and cheese all the time. How don’t you ever get bored of that? That’s the same with Kimchi and Korean people - we eat it.
What is the essential ingredient in Kimchi?
Salt! And chili, of course, but if you do not have chili, you can still make Kimchi. Fish sauce is also good, but not a necessity like good salt. But, again, there is no limit!
And now, the recipe...
1. Cut the cucumber in half widthwise and make an X-shaped incision extending 2/3 of the way down the inside of the cucumber
2. Place the cucumbers in a sieve set over a bowl, sprinkle with the sea salt, and set aside for 30 mins to drain
3. Make the stuffing in a small bowl: combine the chili pepper flakes, chives, and Korean fish sauce
4. Rinse the salt off the cucumber and pet them dry
5. Stuff the chili pepper flake mixture into the cucumbers
6. Place stuffed cucumbers in an airtight glass jar or Tupperware
7. Cover and set aside at room temp for 1-2 days depending on the ambient temp, and then move the stuffed cucumbers to the refrigerator to finish fermenting
8. Consume cucumbers for 3 to 7 days