Food

More than just cabbage—try these 5 creative kimchi recipes

A common perception is that kimchi refers to the spicy pickled cabbage you find anywhere grape jelly, Coke Zero and Sriracha is sold... which is basically every store these days. Indeed, Napa cabbage kimchi is one of the most popular types, but really, kimchi is simply a pickling technique, not a single item. Many things, like cucumbers, chives and apples can also be kimchi'd. The recipe we offer here is a good place to start: It's a flavorful kimchi base that can be used to pickle a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, though five in particular pop into our heads.

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PERSIAN CUCUMBERS

Persian cucumbers are easily found and incredibly refreshing, which is why they're a banchan fixture. You can also substitute Kirby or English varieties; just make sure you drain the excess liquid before adding the Kimchi Marinade.

1 pound Persian cucumbers, sliced ¼-inch-thick

1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the cucumber and 1 tablespoon of the Cure Mix; let sit 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid then add 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve. This kimchi will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated.

DAIKON RADISH

Daikon radish is another common kimchi, which soaks up the marinade phenomenally well and remains addictively crisp for a few days.

4 pounds daikon radish, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the daikon and 4 tablespoons of the Cure Mix; let sit 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid then add 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve. This kimchi will keep up to 2 weeks, refrigerated, but is at its most crisp within a few days.

GARLIC CHIVE OR SPRING ONION

One of our all time favorites is garlic chive, which are different than regular chives and can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Garlic chives are longer and have flatter leaves. The flavor is more mild and slightly sweet. You can also use spring onions or, hell we're going to say it...ramps.

1 pound Korean chives or spring onions, cut into 2-inch batons

1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the chives and 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade. Refrigerate for 1 day. This kimchi will keep up to 2 weeks, refrigerated.

BOK CHOY

Bok choy is a nice substitution for Napa cabbage. It's neutral and absorbs the kimchi marinade really well, which preserving a bit of crunch. It also looks really cool in the jar, and on the plate.

1 pound baby bok choy, washed thoroughly and cut in half

1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the baby bok choy and 2 tablespoons of the Cure Mix; let sit 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid then add 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate for 2 days. This kimchi will keep 1 week, refrigerated.

PINEAPPLE

Pineapple is our own invention, and we just have to pat ourselves on the back a little bit for it. When we first made it in the test kitchen, we couldn't stop eating it -- with all its sweetness and acid and spice and tang and funk. It goes incredibly well with grilled meat, on a taco or with a bowl of ramyun. And in general, if you have any leftover marinade, dig through your refrigerator to see what else can be kimchi'd.

1 large pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes

1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the pineapple and 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours. This kimchi will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated, but honestly, it's not going to last that long.

Reprinted with permission from Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard (Clarkson Potter)

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