Over 20 kg of kimchi was delivered to our door yesterday.
My parents-in-law have been out on their farm in the countryside making kimchi. And as well as all the kimchi they gave us, we got a hamper full of food including some of the kimchi-making leftover ingredients – radish, napa cabbage and chilli flakes, which were all grown on their farm, and a jar of grated ginger, and tiny fermented shrimps in fish sauce.
The other important ingredients of kimchi are salt and of course, garlic.
Since my mother-in-law’s family came from North Korea, she just uses tiny salted shrimp in her kimchi for a fresh, light flavour. She doesn’t add any other seafood. But a few years ago, my mother-in-law’s adjumma friends persuaded her to add raw oysters to her kimchi. So she did.
She hasn’t done that again.
Oysters give the kimchi a richer, fishier, almost oily flavour and texture which clings to to your teeth after you’ve eaten it. Adding the oysters made the kimchi very different to what she usually makes. This kind of kimchi is popular in Jeollado, in the south of Korea. I liked it and I think it’s nice to have now and again, but not every day. I suppose, it’s just what you’re used to. I bet everyone thinks their family’s kimchi is the best
As well as all the kimchi, she sent lots of other food too. Very exciting. Here are some of the highlights …
one pot of ssamjang dipping sauce – a mix of homemade soybean paste, homemade chilli paste, garlic, and spring onions. All I need now are some carrots to dip …
I bag of godulbegi. The dictionary calls this ‘Korean lettuce’ but the roots are used as well, and they are really the star of the show and give the kimchi a very earthy, bitter taste which I love. Mr Kim doesn’t really like it, so I end up eating most of it myself… Here’s a Korean blogger making the godulbegi kimchi
1 bag of fresh napa cabbage kimchi baechu geotjeori. This is not the same as regular napa cabbage kimchi which will pretty much last forever and just gets more and more flavourful over time. This one needs to be eaten quite quickly as it’s not meant to last. So you just make a little bit at a time.
I bag of dried toran chulgori, these are the leaves of the taro – that soft potato-ish vegetable. Don’t ask me what you’re supposed to do with these though. I’ll have to ask my mother-in-law.
1 bag of deep fried chillies. When you open the bag the chillies leap up and sting you right in the eyes. These can be used for a crispy side dish when you haven’t got enough other spicy stuff on the table (which in Korea is like, never) I’m seeing a tasty beer snack though. But I think I’m going to need a lot of beer to wash them down …
2 Mogwa fruit from the tree on the farm – these can be peeled and sliced and used to make tea (with lots of sugar since the fruit is not sweet). Mokgwa are supposed to be good for fighting off a winter cold.
8 walnuts, less exotic to me than mogwa but I do love nuts, and they are from the tree on the farm too…(obviously not the same tree..)
5 bottles of perilla oil (in soju bottles, naturally) – my parents-in-law grow the perilla seeds on the farm and then get them made into oil.
There was other stuff too. Altogether we got ….20 kg (at least) of cabbage kimchi and radish kimchi, shrimp in fish sauce, minced ginger, godulbegi Korean lettuce kimchi, geotjeori kimchi, ssamjang dip, deep fried chillies, red beans, peeled raw chestnuts, spring onions, toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, 5 jars of perilla oil, 4 heads of napa cabbage, 3 moo radish, 2 mokwa fruit
AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE. (not really, but it does feel like Christmas already )