TWO months ago, we ran in this section a lengthy feature on kim chee -- how to make it and what to do with it. Consider today's piece, then, "Kim Chee II: Return of the Spicy Cabbage."
Get creative with kim chee
Ralph Miranda's request arrived the week that Kim Chee I hit the paper. He was looking for the kim chee recipe from the Iolani carnival. For this we turn to Mimi Mitsunaga, kim chee master at Iolani, who has been brewing up the stuff since her son entered kindergarten there, seven years ago.
Mitsunaga says her crew makes 300-400 pounds of won bok kim chee, about the same amount of cucumber, and a little less of the daikon style. Perhaps their most popular is the dried daikon kim chee, an extra crunchy version of the standard.
They start work a week before the carnival on the won bok and daikon (cucumber can be made no sooner than a day before). "My husband says, 'Oh my! And you never cook at home,' " Mitsunaga laughs.
Every year, the recipe changes a little.This year, she added mochiko flour, cooking it in water, then adding it to the spices before blending with the won bok. The difference was an improvement in the color and taste, she said.
Sprinkle won bok with salt, putting more on the white stalks. Sprinkle with 3 cups water and let soak 3-4 hours. Rinse and squeeze out water. Cut into smaller pieces.
IOLANI CARNIVAL KIM CHEE3 heads won bok, cut in fourths lengthwise
3 cups Hawaiian salt
5 cups water, divided
1/2 cup mochiko
2 cups salted baby shrimp
1/2 cup chopped ginger
1/2 cup crushed garlic
3-4 cups Korean chile pepper powder
1 small daikon (turnip), in thin strips
2 bunches watercress, in 1-inch pieces
Meanwhile, combine mochiko with remaining 2 cups water in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until it thickens. Cool. Combine mochiko mixture with salted shrimp, ginger, garlic and chile pepper and let sit two hours.
Combine spicy mixture with won bok, daikon and watercress. Soak another 2 hours before eating. Store in jars in refrigerator. Makes about 1 gallon
Approximate nutritional analysis, per 1/2-cup serving: 70 calories, 2 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, greater than 800 mg sodium.*
Now, enter Margaret Kim, who does unique things with kim chee -- baking it, for example, into cookies. She learned to make kim chee and experiment with it from her mother during her growing-up days on the Waialua sugar plantation back in the 1920s and '30s.
Her mother, Kim said, even made kim chee with mangoes as a way of stretching the family resources when the garden was between crops -- "and to her wildest dreams it was delicious!"
Kim now uses kim chee as a substitute for dips or salsa, mixes it with the filling in store-bought manapua and bakes it into the cookies she serves her kids and grandkids.
The cookies taste surprisingly mild, reminiscent of fruit cake, packed as they are with raisins, coconut, dried mango and chopped nuts, as well as kim chee.
In the mood for some experimentation? Try these.
Rinse cucumber kim chee, squeeze well and chop small. Soak carrots in kim chee juice a half hour, then squeeze well. Mix with cucumbers and set aside.
HUMDINGER KIM CHEE SUGAR COOKIES1 cup well-ripened cucumber kim chee
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup each chopped li hing mango, raisins, chopped nuts, shredded coconut
Beat butter until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Beat thoroughly. Stir in milk.
Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to butter mixture. Fold in cucumber, carrots and remaining ingredients. Drop dough by teaspoons on greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake at 375 degrees about 8 minutes. Makes 50-60 cookies.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per cookie: 60 calories, 3.5 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium.*
Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. Cream together butter, shortening and sugar. Fold in flour mixture, then add egg and molasses. Set dough aside.
HEE HAW KIM CHEE OATMEAL COOKIES1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon molasses
1-3/4 cup dry oatmeal
1/2 cup each raisins, chopped nuts, shredded coconut and chopped li hing mango
1 cup well-ripened cucumber kim chee, rinsed, squeezed and chopped
Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Add to dough. Drop by teaspoons onto buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until edges are brown, about 12 minutes. Makes about 75 cookies.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per cookie: 60 calories, 3.5 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 130 mg sodium.*
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By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
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Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.