I did an experiment to see if Brussels Sprouts (a close cousin to Napa and green cabbage) would make a good kimchi. Not surprising, it does!
At first I quartered the sprouts. I was concerned that there would not be enough surface area to ferment them properly. Then I spoke with Mark over at Happy Pantry, and he confirmed that when he halved Brussels sprouts, “they took forever to ferment.” So, to be safe, I pulsed the sprouts in a food processor.
The texture is more like cole-slaw, but the taste is ALL KIMCHI!
- I’ve been using my own Fermented Fish Sauce, and I’ve noticed the last few batches have a deep smokey, marine like flavor. I concluded that, as I am reaching the bottom of my first bottle of sauce (which was made with salt-water sardines), more of the sediment is showing up in the recipe… it is becoming stronger in flavor!
- The baby leeks offer a subtle sweetness that offsets the spiciness. Not sure if the same effect would happen with scallions. It already tastes really good, and it’s only been 4 days in the fridge! I bet it gets even mellower.
- 3 large carrots
- 2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts, quartered
- 2 baby leeks
- filtered water
- sea salt
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2-inch piece of ginger
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- Dissolve 3 Tablespoons salt into 1 quart of water in a one-gallon glass or ceramic container. Stir until salt dissolves.
- Quarter Brussels sprouts.
- Shred and or slice carrots. (Or try both for a mixed texture).
- Slice one of the baby leeks into 1" pieces.
- Add all veggies to the brine. Cover with a plastic lid or plate and weigh down (I use a glass wine bottle filled with water) so that the contents stay under the brine. Leave for up to 4 hours.
- Drain the veggies through a colander, reserving a pint of the brine.
- Add the mixture to a food processor and pulse until a slaw-like consistency (about 6-8 pulses). Work in multiple batches if needed.
- Roughly chop the garlic and slice the ginger. Add to bowl of a food processor bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, dice the ginger and garlic so it's almost a paste, and add to a mixing bowl.
- Add pepper powder, soy sauce and fish sauce to mixing bowl. Vegan variation: omit fish sauce.
- Slice other leek into ½" pieces and add to mix.
- Stir and mash contents (or pulse with food processor) together until a paste forms.
- Wearing a latex or plastic glove to protect yourself from the heat of the peppers, mix the paste thoroughly with your hand into the drained vegetables. You can mix everything directly in the fermenting container, or in a separate large mixing bowl. Mix until the veggies are coated nicely with the paste.
- Cover with a plastic lid or plate, and weigh down so that the contents stay under the brine. Some brine will continue to form once the veggies are pressed down.
- Cover with a cloth and rubber band to keep flies out.
- Brussels sprouts tend to be drier than cabbage, so add the reserved brine to ensure the contents are submerged.
- Store in a warmest spot in your kitchen for 4-5 days. Note: Your house will smell like kimchi.
- Transfer contents to mason jars and continue to ferment in refrigerator for up to 6 months (if it lasts that long!)