As Chinese cabbages start to appear at markets, I’m pondering the idea of ‘Annual Kimchi Project’, but this time in a grand scale; I need to think harder how I’ll make it happen. Koreans have already got their kimchi made and tucked away to ferment but I’m still not too behind in this part of the world. Towards the end of the year, every household has stinky over-fermented kimchi. When I was in Korea in October, I noticed that kimchi didn’t appear on the table that often; kimchi was running out! So all Koreans must be feeling rich and secure by now.
But here I hardly have kimchi in my fridge so using kimchi in cooking is unthinkable. As you know, I made Calamari Kimchi Fritters at my Korean Soiree, using the precious kimchi I had brought, which was a big hit. So you must try making some if you’ve got some kimchi to ‘spare‘.
A few nights ago Mr.O and I played a game, ‘10 dishes you must try in different countries‘. When it got to Korea, I snorted and reeled off 9 items in 30 seconds before getting stuck at #1. It was kimchi, of course! I didn’t consider kimchi as a dish, rather a condiment, because it appears at every meal. Well… Anyway, making kimchi is a hard work if you do it properly to make it fermentable and get the maximum probiotics.
It’s a fermented product, after all; the sour and pungent taste is the magic of nature, lactic acid. You don’t add any acidic ingredients like vinegar, lemon, citric acid, etc. when making kimchi. That’s why it’s precious and you don’t cook with it unless it’s gone beyond the edible stage, like over 1,2,3…10 years old. Oh, mackerel or bonito cooked with 10 year-old kimchi….I’m drooling now. To be able to ‘waste‘ kimchi in cooking, you must have a separate fridge packed with it like average Korean households, but I don’t as I’ve lived up to this point that there are so many new foods to try and it doesn’t really compliment wines. But I’ve started rethinking about the kimchi and wine pairing.
Another vegetable I see a lot at the market is this alien looking turnip, called kohlrabi, which isn’t traditionally a Turkish vegetable but seems to be growing more and more here, too. What can you do with this besides making a salad or slaw with some grated apple? I can happily crunch on them raw because it’s a bit like radish but sweeter and crunchier. So this time I came up with Kimchi Kohlrabi Curry Fritters. Kimchi makes everything taste awesome, and with the kohlrabi and aromatic, spicy curry, even better!
Especially the cold and wet late November weather made me crave spicy dishes. So the major differences, compared to the previous zucchini fritters, are the spices such as turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, cayenne chili, mint, and no cheese, and chop up some kimchi and fresh coriander. I love the fact that my new local grocer has no shortage of fresh coriander, kişniş in Turkish, unlike the old neighborhood.
Curry and kimchi tends to make me think of seafood for some reason, so I added some chopped-up prawns. Fantastic! Of course, you can omit prawns.
This time I plated it rather nicely, compared to the previous! Even though I’m not sure if the idea of rolled cucumber is genuine or not, I still think it was rather brilliant. How I came up with the idea is a rather sad story though. I realised that I didn’t have any small bowls for sauces or dips, yet I didn’t want to drizzle the sauce over the crispy fritters.
The fritters are fatter and better this time, probably one of the best of its kind. I made a huge batch to eat through the week to save myself time. By the way, I have a secret method of cooking fritters using as little oil as possible; sorry if you already know this.
They cook faster and more evenly in the pan with the lid. When they are almost cooked, you can take the lid off and cook a little more to crispen them. It does a magic. That’s why I don’t put the fritters on a plate laden with paper towel, but on a dry rack instead to keep the crispness.
For the sauce, it’s thin yogurt tahini sauce. I couldn’t think of a better sauce to go with this spicy dish, stuck between Korean and Indian. Are you tempted to make some for yourself? Yummy, tummy, tummy….