Now before I start, I was going to post this on Monday, but after some impatience from a friend of mine (yes Drelli, I mean you), it’s going up today instead.
Last week, I went to Food Sorcery for my second cooking session. This time instead of cheese making, I attended one of their Fit Food classes – Fermenting for Gut Health. This class was led by Jan Cron – the chef heading up the kitchen at The Counterhouse restaurant in Ancoats. Who still hasn’t given in and given me his recipe for chicken katsu (no I’m not letting it go).
For some fermenting is all about the health element. It’s good for you, it helps keep up the levels of good bacteria in your body (we are host to thousands and thousands of bacteria that help keep us alive), and for others, like me, it’s more about flavour. The spice, the sour acidity – the health element is just a bonus. Anyone who knows me, knows I love good pickles – my dad makes some monster pickled onions that I will just sit and eat straight from the jar – and whilst my repertoire for making jams and chutneys is pretty decent, kimchi and sauerkraut have evaded me – the session on fermentation and gut health was perfectly timed. I’m someone who learns by doing, so sessions with Food Sorcery are perfect.
After some tasters of kombucha and kefir, we popped on our aprons, grabbed a glass of wine (optional), washed our hands and started with the kimchi. Jan and the team had pre-prepared five heads of cabbage. This kimchi recipe was to be a ‘speedy version’, and so the cabbage had been salted in advance of the session. The resulting kimchi would be tasty straight away, but as with anything, it gets better with time.
In one bowl we mixed the paste. Chilli, fish sauce, garlic, ginger – some added turmeric, some added more spice, others used less. In a second bowl we added to the cabbage – finely sliced carrots, radishes and spring onions.
Everything was combined and put into a jar – most importantly the jar wasn’t sealed with a rubber seal. The jar needs to breathe, the bacteria need to do their thing, and sealing it (and indeed putting it in the fridge) will kill that process.
Kimchi done, it was time for sauerkraut.
Cabbage was shredded, salt and caraway added, and then it was ‘massaged’.
With consistent massage you break down some of the cell walls of the cabbage, and it leaches water. Once you can hold it up, and it’s dripping, it’s ready to jar.
Whilst the kimchi can be eaten straight away, the sauerkraut needs time – at least five days. As I write this, I’ve tested mine and it’s getting there, it needs a little longer. I’ve kept them away from sunlight, but both without the rubber seals. I can’t wait for the sauerkraut to be ready. I love it as a side with a casserole, or roast pork, or even better, stirred into buttery mashed potato.
As for kimchi – I’ll put it on and with everything. Burgers, mac and cheese, on a butty, even just straight from the jar. But it’s absolutely delicious added to a stir fry or stew, so whilst mine would have been even better older (I’m impatient), I added it to a quick stir fry with some steak and rice. It may not be a traditional kimchi fried rice, but it’s such a quick and easy dish, it would be rude not to share.
If you’re really feeling lazy, then it’s easy to cheat entirely. Buy precooked rice rather than making your own. Buy pre-made kimchi if you don’t have your own, add a pack of stir fry vegetables and a pack of steak from the supermarket. Speaking of which, if you’re using a really good quality steak, I’d cook it, rest it, and pop it on top instead of adding it to the dish. Everything will still be delicious, you’re just treating the steak with a little more respect, and getting the best out of it. Mine was a quick buy at the supermarket, so it was perfect to slice and add to the dish.
Finally, my recipe is vegetable heavy, so you can always add more rice and less veggies, and if you don’t fancy steak, some tofu or seitan would be an absolutely delicious alternative, or just stick to veggies and add another fried egg.
Kimchi Fried Rice with Steak and Egg
- 150 grams Kimchi, chopped
- 50 ml Kimchi juice from the pack/jar
- 320 grams Stir fry vegetables
- 300 grams Beef steak, cut into strips
- 250 grams Cooked rice
- 1 Clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp Coconut oil
- 2 Medium eggs, fried
Pop a wok onto a reasonably high heat, and add the coconut oil
Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, stirring til it turns golden brown. Then add the steak.
Colour the meat, then add the vegetables, stir frying until they just begin to soften. Then add the kimchi.
Stir until the kimchi starts to smell delicious, then add the rice and the kimchi juice.
The rice will absorb the juice, when it has, check for seasoning, and if happy, remove from the heat.
Serve into bowls and top with the fried egg, and more kimchi if you fancy.
This cookery class was paid for by myself, with a discount offered to me by Food Sorcery.