Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pakimchi - I am pakimchi! :)

'Pa' means scallion in Korean. Like all other vegetable, Koreans make Kimchi out of it. I guess this is the most difficult Kimchi to appreciate for non-Koreans. Scallion can be used as alternative for its milder cousin, chives. Koreans treat chives as vegetable. Chives are cheap, little bit more tedious to clean, and milder. Whenever you see chives in Korean recipe, it can be almost always substituted with scallion.

Few days ago, I bumped into bunch of fresh tender delicate scallions which is rare finding. This is the perfect size of one of my favorite Kimchi. Kimchi is usually named after its main ingredient. Pakimchi mean Kimchi made with scallions.
It is so simple to make. I don’t need even cure the vegetable or make starch to make base for the seasoning. I simply mix Korean red chilli flake with little bit of sugar and Korean fish sauce.
The taste is as you imagined: scallion is very pungent. Imagine adding ton of spicy red chilli flake. Even though the pungent taste of scallion will reduce little with time, but it remains as scallion. This burn-your-mouth-spicy Kimchi over well-made hot boiled rice is my soul food.
Koreans often say “I become Pakimchi” meaning “I am so worn out, so I can not even sit strait.” You can easily understand the status by imagining the cooked whole scallion: it become very soft and has no strength to hold its shape. I was that shape when I found perfect scallions for Pakimchi. Just thinking about it gave strength!
I happily made Pakimchi and waited few days for it to be soak up and mingle with the simple seasonings. I consumed it, felt its full powered punch to my nose and tongue, and came out of ‘being Pakimchi’.

25~30 Scallions, three table spoon of Korean chilli flake, one table spoon of salt, two table spoon of Korean fish sauce (if you don’t have it, use one table spoon of salt + one table spoon of water), one teaspoon of sugar
1. Get scallions as thin as possible. Soak it in cold water for
2. Meanwhile Mix chilli flake, fish sauce and sugar and let it sit.
3. Remove scallions from the water and drain very well. Trim off the root.
4. Mix scallions with seasoning well in a big bowl (please use protection such as gloves!) and put it in a air tight container.
5. You can eat it right away with grilled meat or let it sit for three days.

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