We love kimchi. Salty, tangy, spicy, crunchy and funky. Uh huh, funky*.
But in a good way – like umami funk that adds that right amount of indescribable something and elevates a dish that is good to a dish that is freakin’ great.
When we want to add a kick to anything from tacos to omelettes, we’ll often reach for kimchi.
It’s also one of the easiest ferments to make. Chop some veggies, mix with a pepper paste, and put in a jar for a couple of days or maybe several weeks.
The longer you wait, the funkier it is.
Radish and cabbage are the staples, but you can mix a world of different ingredients with the pepper paste and have fantastic ferments. In fact, one of our favorites is fruit kimchi.
However, it’s the chilli powder gochugaru that is the soul of kimchi.
Gochugaru is a mandatory ingredient in any traditional kimchi recipe. Some use gochujang, which is just a ferment paste made with gochugaru.
Now, gochugaru is only gochugaru when it’s made from gochu (Korean red pepper). It’s a well balanced pepper, with a mix of flavors including spicy, earthy, sweet, and slightly smoky.
It also can only be named gochu if it’s grown in the Korean peninsula, much like champagne in France or tequila in Mexico.
Finding a substitute for gochugaru requires some experimenting. Pick a powder that’s too spicy and you’ll have something inedible. Too smoky, like chipotle and it will be equally less enjoyable, often overwhelming the other flavors.
But there are pepper powders that will work well in any “kimchi” recipe.
Smoked Hungarian Paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne powder are popular substitutes, but often lack the complexity of gochu or are just too spicy for most.
But we just happened to find a perfect match.
While in Albuquerque, New Mexico, seemingly every meal was covered in a delicious red or green chili sauce. It’s kind of a staple in the local cuisine ingrained into the diet almost as much as gochu is in Korea.
Made from New Mexican chili peppers, the red version of the sauce is slightly smoky, spicy and a little sweet. And if you braise pork in it, it becomes a dish not easily forgotten.
So we bought a pound of the red powder with plans on recreating some New Mexican dishes.
But we also realized New Mexican chili powder seemed a suitable substitute for gochugaru. So, we tossed it together with some organic vegetables we picked up at the farmers market and started fermenting.
After brewing for only a week, this “kimchi” was ready to be enjoyed on everything from bibimbap to tacos.
*Yes, funky is a flavor. Especially in ferments.
|Prep Time:||15 min|
|Cuisine:||New Mexican / Korean|
2. Place sliced Brussels Sprouts in brine for 4 hours, or until desired saltiness has been reached.
3. Mix Rice Flour Paste, Chilli Powder, Fish Sauce, Sugar, Daikon & Carrot.
4. Blend Garlic, Ginger, Onion, & 1/4 Cup water in Food processor.
5. In a large bowl combine Rice Flour Paste with Garlic/Ginger mix.
6. Toss with Brussels Sprouts and transfer to 1/2 Gallon Mason Jar.
7. Press down on ingredients to remove air bubbles, place weight on top of ingredients.
8. Cover with a lid loosely or use an airlock and ferment at room temp for 5-10 days or until funky enough for your taste.
* 1/2 Gallon Brine (1/2 Cup salt to 6 Cups Water)
* 1/2 Daikon Radish (Chopped into matchsticks)
* 1 Carrot (Chopped into matchsticks)
* 1" Piece of ginger (Roughly chopped)
* 3 Cloves garlic (Roughly chopped)
* 1/2 Small Onion (Roughly chopped)
* 1/4 Cup Red New Mexican Chilli Powder
* 1 t Fish Sauce
* 2 T Sugar
* 1/2 Cup Rice Flour Paste (1/2 Cup Water + 1T Rice Flour)