Kimchi Update

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After stewing for about a week in the fridge, the homemade kimchi was trotted out. The results were sad. Suffering perhaps from the lack of fish and my own fears about leaving it out overnight, the kimchi failed to really ferment.

Next time I will be less cautious. Now the container is sitting proudly out on the counter, rotting away. We'll see what happens.

As it turns out, kimchi is rarely vegetarian. I have been merrily eating non-vegetarian kimchi for some time: oops. But since researching kimchi on the web to make my own, I've discovered how ubiquitous fish sauce, shrimp, oysters, or other seafood are in kimchi recipes. Sure enough, the jar of pre-made kimchi purchased at the Korean store had fish sauce and shrimp in it.

My strategy will be to carefully not ask about the ingredients in restaurant-served kimchi (already happening accidentally on a fairly regular basis when it comes to eating the vermicelli bowl at the Vietnamese restaurant), but on those occasions when making kimchi from scratch, I will use vegetarian fish sauce instead. I recently found a bottle of vegetarian fish sauce at an Asian market. Although I looked in vain in my grocery store, there were several Vietnamese brands to choose from at the Asian store. It is made up of soy bean sauce, chilis, sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. Although this probably won't help my kimchi ferment any faster, it may add a missing dimension to the flavor.

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