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Junghyun "JP" Park's Napa Cabbage Kimchi and Kimchi Mandu
As featured on Food with Mark Bittman
Mark and I loved interviewing JP Park on Food with Mark Bittman to talk about The Korean Cookbook, which JP co-wrote with the culinary researcher and his longtime friend, Jungyoon Choi. JP’s Napa Cabbage Kimchi and his Kimchi Mandu—dumplings—were talked about on the episode, and we’re sharing the recipes below.
Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Baechu Kimchi)
Makes: 4 1/2–5 1/2 lb (2–2.5 kg)
Preparation time: 1 hour, plus 7 hours brining time and 11-12 days fermentation
Cooking time: 10 minutes
The napa cabbage kimchi is one of the most iconic kimchis of Korea. It is typically made in fall or winter, when the napa cabbage is most delicious. When made in the winter, the brining time is 6–7 hours. In the summer, 3–4 hours is sufficient, however napa cabbage harvested in the summer is best prepared as the unfermented baechu geotjeori (Fresh Napa Cabbage Kimchi), because the softer texture is not ideal for fermented kimchi. — The Korean Cookbook
Ingredients for the brined cabbage:
1 large head napa cabbage/Chinese leaf (4 1/2–5 1/2 lb/2–2.5 kg)
1 cup (120 g) coarse sea salt
Ingredients for the rice slurry:
1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour
Ingredients for the kimchi seasoning:
1/2 cup (65 g) gochugaru (red chili flakes)
6 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 cups (16 fl oz/480 ml) Korean pear juice
1 tablespoon salted shrimp
3 tablespoons anchovy fish sauce
12 oz (350 g) mu (Korean radish), cut into 11/2-inch (4 cm) matchsticks
3 1/2 oz (100 g) onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 3/4 oz (50 g) scallions (spring onions), cut into 11/2-inch (4 cm) lengths
1 oz (30 g) minari, cut into 11/2-inch (4 cm) lengths
Brine the cabbage
Remove any damaged leaves from the cabbage. Make an incision 2 inches (5 cm) long at the base of the cabbage and pull the cabbage in half by tearing with your hands. With extra-large napa cabbage, cut into quarters.
In a bowl, stir to combine 1/2 cup (60 g) of the coarse salt with 4 cups (32 fl oz/950 ml) of water. Taking the halved cabbage, dip it into the salt water four times, making sure each leaf is evenly coated. Repeat for all. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup (60 g) salt evenly over the cabbage, focusing on the thicker parts of the leaves and including the outer layers and the base.
Choose an airtight glass or ceramic container large enough to fit the kimchi with a small amount of breathing room at the top (to prevent overflow while fermentation occurs). Place the salted cabbage into the container cut-side up. Pour in the brine remaining in the bowl to cover. To prevent the cabbages from floating, set a heavier object, such as a water bottle, on the cabbage to keep it submerged.
Let the cabbage brine at room temperature for 6–7 hours. Check that the cabbage is sufficiently brined by gently bending the thickest part of the leaf; it should gently bend to the touch. Rinse the cabbage three times under cold running water, squeeze out excess water, and place the cabbage face down in a sieve to drain excess moisture. Discard the brine from the container.
Make the rice slurry
In a small saucepan, combine the glutinous rice flour and 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) water and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly so that the flour does not clump. When bubbles begin to form, cook, while stirring, for another 3 minutes to form a slurry. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Make the kimchi seasoning
In a large bowl, combine the gochugaru, garlic, ginger, pear juice, salted shrimp, fish sauce, and cooled rice slurry and mix until evenly combined. Add the radish, onion, scallions, and minari and toss.
To assemble the kimchi, stuff each layer of the prepared cabbage with the kimchi seasoning mixture. After finishing each wedge, use the outermost leaf to enclose the cabbage and prevent the kimchi seasonings from escaping. Place the finished kimchi into the container with the cut-side facing up, pressing the cabbages down firmly so that there is no space left in the container. Pour any remaining kimchi seasoning over the pressed cabbages. Cover the surface of the kimchi with plastic wrap (cling film) to avoid contact with oxygen as much as possible and close the container. Let ferment at room temperature for 1–2 days and then move into the refrigerator for an additional 10 days.
The kimchi can be stored for more than 1 year if stored well in the refrigerator, as long as it’s prevented from coming into contact with oxygen as much as possible.
— Excerpted from The Korean Cookbook © 2023 by Junghyun Park and Jungyoon Choi. Photography © 2023 by Jinju Kang. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Kimchi dumplings are one of the most iconic foods of Korea. As with other mandu, the type of kimchi used and the method for these dumplings have regional differences. In the south, kimchi is used without washing off any seasoning. In the north and middle of the country, the kimchi seasonings are rinsed off before adding. In the north, additional ingredients, such as tofu, are added for a milder flavor profile. — The Korean Cookbook
Ingredients for the filling:
1 lb (500 g) ground (minced) pork
2 tablespoons ganjang (Korean soy sauce)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 3/4 lb (800 g) Napa Cabbage Kimchi, store-bought or homemade
10 oz (300 g) firm tofu
10 oz (300 g) mung bean sprouts
3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
7 oz (200 g) onions, finely diced
2 tablespoons minced scallion (spring onion)
1 tablespoon salt
Ingredients for the cho-ganjang:
3 tablespoons ganjang (Korean soy sauce)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon gochugaru (red chili flakes)
Ingredients for the dumplings:
60 large mandu wrappers
Make the filling
In a bowl, season the pork with the soy sauce and garlic and mix well. Set aside to develop flavors while you prep the other filling ingredients.
Wipe off any solid seasonings from the kimchi and finely dice.
In a separate bowl, mash the firm tofu with your hands until fine and uniform and wrap in a cheesecloth (muslin) or similar and squeeze to drain excess moisture.
In a small pot of boiling water, blanch the mung bean sprouts for 2 minutes. Drain and let cool in a sieve. Once cooled, cut into 1/8-inch (3 mm) pieces.
In a frying pan, heat the cooking oil over high heat. Add the seasoned pork and onions and stir-fry, breaking up the meat. While the meat is cooking, add the diced kimchi and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Scrape into a bowl to cool. Add the tofu, mung bean sprouts, egg, scallion, and salt and mix well until uniform.
Make the cho-ganjang
In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, 3 tablespoons water, the vinegar, and gochugaru and mix until uniform. Set aside in a saucer.
Assemble the dumplings
Place a mandu wrapper in the palm of your nondominant hand and lightly apply water to the outer edges. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center. Fold the mandu wrapper into a half- moon shape and press the center of the edge to fix, then press the outer edges firmly together to seal, leaving no air bubbles. Repeat for all remaining ingredients.
Set up a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Add the mandu to the steamer basket, set it over the boiling water, cover, and steam for about 10 minutes.
Plate the steamed dumplings on a large flat plate and serve with cho-ganjang on the side for dipping.
— Excerpted from The Korean Cookbook © 2023 by Junghyun Park and Jungyoon Choi. Photography © 2023 by Jinju Kang. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved