Although kimchi is quintessentially a part of Korean cuisine, we can still make and enjoy it here in Malaysia.
Kimchi is basiclly fermented vegetables, much like preserved tuhau for the Sabahans. Just like tuhau, Korean kimchi makes a great quick meal if you are in a rush. Just cook some rice, take out those preserved vegetables, fry an egg and voila you have a complete meal.
Most kimchi is made with the basic seasoning of gochujang (Korean chilli paste), Korean chilli powder, garlic, ginger and jeotgal (salted shrimp).
If you do not have Korean chilli powder, you can replace it with Malaysian serbuk cili. (It is also more economical.)
As for jeotgal, some replace it with fish sauce while some Malaysians may use cencaluk as a substitute.
So what are you waiting for, here are ten types of Korean kimchi you can make from your Malaysian kitchen:
1. Napa kimchi
The most common type of Korean kimchi is napa kimchi. It is made from napa cabbage which is widely known as Chinese cabbage in Malaysia. The secret to make your napa kimchi a little bit sweet is to put in some shredded pear.
2. Buchu kimchi
Buchu is an onion species known for many names including garlic chives, Chinese leek, oriental garlic, Asian chives. Here in Malaysia, we simply know it as daun kucai. While we enjoy stir-fried daun kucai with garlic, you can also make a type of Korean kimchi out of it.
Oisabagi is basically spicy stuffed cucumber kimchi made with garlic chive, carrot and seasoning. The best part about this type of Korean kimchi is, you can eat it right away without waiting for it to be fermented.
4. Baek kimchi
Here comes a Korean kimchi without the chilli powder, aptly named baek kimchi or white kimchi. If you find regular kimchi is too spicy for you, opt for baek kimchi. It is mainly made with salted napa cabbage, radish, spring onions, salt, garlic, and sugar.
5. Gat kimchi
Even in Malaysia, not everyone enjoys gat which is sawi pahit in Malay or mustard leaves in English. The bitter taste lingers even after you finish your meal. However, you might enjoy it after turning the vegetable into kimchi.
The star ingredient for kakdugi is white radish or else is called mu in Korean or daikon in Japanese. Unlike other Korean kimchi, kakdugi is crunchier thanks to the radish texture. Making kakdugi is another way to eat radish instead of our usual Malaysian radish cake.
Traditionally, the Koreans enjoy dongchimi during winter season. Though it is all-year summer season in Malaysia, make your own dongchimi out of radish, cabbage, pickled green chilli, pear, and water. It takes usually two or three days to mature.
Similar to dongchimi, nabak kimchi is a watery kimchi except it is added with chilli pepper powder. Thus, the colour is redder than dongchimi.
9. Gaji kimchi
Gaji means eggplant in English or terung in Malay. Here in Malaysia, one of the favourite ways to cook it is with sambal (Malay hot paste). Gaji kimchi takes about half an hour to make and one day to mature before you can enjoy it.
10. Gochu Sobagi
Most Malaysians can handle spiciness pretty well which is why Korean cuisine is well received here. Gochu sobagi or spicy stuffed green chilli is another way to satisfy your craving for spiciness. It is made by stuffing kimchi seasoning into green chilli.