Monday, March 24, 2014

Cilantro Kimchi

Today I'm sharing something a little different. Obviously, you can tell by the title that it's cilantro kimchi. I'm pretty sure that Koreans (specifically South Koreans) aren't keen on cilantro. It's certainly not because everyone in Korea hates cilantro but it's not a traditional ingredient; it's just not a part of (South) Korean cuisine. So, today's recipe is glaringly nontraditional, unauthentic, and completely made up by yours truly.

I read somewhere (on the interweb) that cilantro is a big part of North Korean cuisine, but as I know little about the culture (besides the scary stuff you read in the paper) and I don't personally know any N. Koreans, I don't want to speak out of turn and say anything that isn't true.

By the way, if you don't like cilantro, it could be genetic! My friend H - a cilantro hater - linked me to an article from the Huffington Post that talks all about the link between specific genes and disliking cilantro. The article also mentions that cilantro haters can become converts by starting with something like a cilantro pesto. I would also propose that you try chimichurri (cut with a little parsley to tone down the cilantro-ness). But, you could also try the following cilantro kimchi recipe, since it's got a ton of strong flavors (hello, fish sauce) which compete with the cilantro (in a good way).
Ingredients:
2 cups cilantro leaves (torn off the stems)
½ cup carrot matchsticks
2 hot peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Korean fish sauce
1 tablespoon Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
Just mix all of the ingredients together until the cilantro is wilted. That's it! Serve with a bowl of rice and enjoy. It doesn't get much easier than that, does it? I like the addition of the carrots, as they add a nice crunch to something that would otherwise have the texture of an overdressed salad.

The fish sauce will mimic the fermented taste that kimchi is known for so that you can eat this immediately. If fish sauce is missing from your pantry (or if you're vegan or vegetarian), you can use a dash of vinegar (preferably rice wine or apple cider) and a sprinkle of salt. It won't have quite the same pungency but maybe you'll like that better, hm?

Also, if you don't finish it all in one sitting, keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for two or three days. Any longer than that and the leaves start to get a little too wilted for my taste, but hey, to each his/her own.

Here's the recipe page:

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