KimchiVertbfLOHere’s the last of my troika of toppings for use on grilled hot dogs at our game night this evening. The green chile sauce is resting quietly in the downstairs fridge, waiting to be brought up, ‘waved, and served piping hot – maybe with fresh chopped onion and a nice melting cheese. I’ve tweaked the black bean salad – adding diced red pepper and sliced English cucumber – and it not only looks much more lively, I think the flavor will be enhanced as well. Now for the kimchi…

If you aren’t familiar with it, kimchi is a classic (maybe THE classic) Korean condiment: cabbage loaded with chiles and garlic and then pickled. My father came back from 18 months in Seoul in the late 60’s with horror stories of the stuff – of course you have to recall that his idea of ‘spicy’ was a touch of salt, a bit of pepper and MAYBE a bay leaf (wild man!). Imagine my surprise and delight when I first discovered this tangy little gem at, of all places, the Chinese restaurant in the East Bay we used to go to for lunch when I lived in Northern California. They offered bowls of this, fresh and obviously home (restaurant?) made when you were first seated and contemplating the menu. YUM.

I’ve tried the jarred kimchi from the produce section and it is… OK. Just don’t even think of saving any leftovers once you’ve opened the jar – it goes downhill rather quickly (I had thought maybe that was just me – but my produce guy confirmed this opinion when we were discussing the finer points of spicy pickled cabbage yesterday). ANYWAY – when this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine arrived a week or so back with a menu for ‘Korean Steak Night’ that offered a pretty easy looking and quick recipe for kimchi, I thought “Hey! Why not kimchi on dogs instead of sauerkraut?” And so here we are…

•1/2 head Napa cabbage
•6 scallions
•3 red jalapeños, chopped – or, just use green if the red are scarce
•4 garlic cloves
•1/4 cup sugar
•2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
•1 tsp red pepper flakes
•2 tbsp fish sauce – if this isn’t already in your fridge, you can find it at most
markets in the Asian Foods section. If you need to substitute – try two parts soy sauce and one part lime juice (fresh lime juice, I would think).
•2 tbsp salt

Pulse the jalapeño, garlic, sugar, ginger, red pepper flakes, fish sauce and salt in a food processor into a paste.

Cut the cabbage and scallions into 2-inch pieces (roughly) and toss with the jalapeño paste. Refrigerate at least four hours – I’m going for an overnight marinade.

My produce guy couldn’t help me with red jalapeños, so I went with green; other than that, I was pretty true to this recipe; and I have to say that it smells terrific.

Can’t wait for this evening to see how it all goes – I may have to have THREE hotdogs just to try each of the troika!

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