Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Asian Eyes' Korea - Seoul Kimchi making

Kimchee, a must have when
visiting Korea
            Day 4, Nov/20/2012, 7.00 am: We start the day early as we are due to get to the airport early to catch a 8.30 am flight back to Seoul. It was familiar sight of Gimpo Airport. After we retrieved our bags, Kent lead us to our bus who then took us to a special school which teaches Korea staple food - Kimchi at Seoul Kimchi School. 
         Kimchi, also spelled kimchee, kim chee or gimchi, is a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. It is Korea's national dish, and there are hundreds of varieties made with a main vegetable ingredient such as napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber. Kimchi is also a main ingredient for many Korean dishes such as kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae), kimchi soup (kimchiguk), and kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap). Kimchi varieties are determined by the main vegetable ingredients and the mix of seasonings used to flavor the kimchi. The Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul has documented 187 historic and current varieties of kimchi. Ingredients can be replaced or added depending on the type of kimchi being made. The most common seasonings include brine, scallions, spices, ginger, chopped radish, garlic, shrimp sauce (saeujeot ), and fish sauceaekjeot).
           At Kimchi School, we got a first hand experience in Kimchi making session, taught by a Kore an lady in Mandarin. The teacher informed us that kimchi we will be making will be donated out to old folk homes and orphanage homes, a way to do Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) by the school. We were so excited attending our very first culinary class and able to contribute to CSR as well. We were given a bokchoy (Chinese cabbage) each on a plate layered by a plastic sheet, prepared chili paste, an apron and a pair of plastic gloves, in case we make a mess of our self.The teacher demonstrate how to apply the chili paste onto a blanched bokchoy. After watching the teacher's demonstration on making kimchi, it was our turn putting chili paste in between every piece of the cabbage leaves, and then wrapping it around. Once done, we wrapped the plastic sheet around our kimchi. Jeff, our tour lead, help us snapped some pictures. Feeling satisfied we discarded our gloves and the school attendant push in a trolley to collect our kimchi to sent for CSR event. Finally our teacher brought in couple of tray of kimchi and its sauce for us to try. There were assortments of kimchi - cabbage, seaweed, squid and bean curd and everyone got to try on them. I particularly liked the squid. We ended buying a couple packets of kimchi premix sauces to take home.
            Here are some of the pictures we took while having fun in Seoul's Kimchi School:
The entrance to Kimchi School, a nice building with the school at 2nd floor and a Hanbok dress  fitting in 1st floor.
Big earthen jars are being used to cure Kimchi
Many types of Kimchi ingredients.
Ready made kimchi for the tasting.
Another soggy type kimchi. This one looks like curry to me.
Kent pointing out to the many kinds of kimchi found in Korea.
There are more than 100 type of kimchi can be found in Korea. Almost anything edible can be turned into kimchi!
At the start of the kimchi making session. The apron was given in case to prevent us from staining our shirt with the premix chili sauces .
Middle M and Little M deep in the action of rubbing premix chilies onto the blanched bokchoy.
My kimchi being tied up using the last piece of leaf onto itself, just as taught by the teacher. Looks yummy.
My kimchi all tied up and gets ready to sent to be cured and later to be served in old folks home or orphanage as part of the Kimchi school's CSR program. 
After making kimchi for CSR, it is kimchi testing time. This one was cured and ready to eat. The school also promote the sale of its premix kimchi sauces.
We had squid kimchi, cabbage kimchi and tofu to dip into the kimchi sauces. I like the squid kimchi very much.
As evident from this picture, the kimchi served here are really nice.
A poster on Kimchi's nutritional information.
A poster on the Kimchi main ingredients in its sauce.
A poster on seasonal kimchi that are only available on certain time of the year.

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