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Mustard Leaf (Gat) Kimchi

Jeolla-do province in the southwestern portion of the Korean peninsula is a region known for its many distinct food and agricultural traditions. It's credited with being the center of gochujang production and the main area where this variety of kimchi is enjoyed. We developed our Jeolla-do Large Leaf Korean mustard as a tribute to the region and to the Lee family of Namu Restaurants who originally gave us seed from their family farm. Our variety of mustard is large, with deep purple coloring that is retained even after pickling, and an intense mustard flavor to stand up to the chiles and garlic. The thickness and texture of the leaf contributes to a pleasing integrity at varying points of fermenting and aging. We made a batch in early winter (November) and another at the end (February). The mustard leaf gets spicier and more bitter as the days get longer again. For the February batch we added green garlic in place of chives. If you cannot find Korean mustard, try to use a similarly hardy Indian mustard. Many of the sweeter all green mustard varieties don't age as well.

We used kombu broth to bloom the chiles and impart some depth of flavor. Traditionally it gets made with anchovy broth, but kombu is also used by many, and builds a similar umami quality. We personally prefer the kombu, and have noticed that vegetarian versions of some of our kimchi makes for a nicer aged product.


2 lbs. Mustard Greens

2 bunches Scallions

12 cloves garlic (our preference is Inchelium Red. Softneck garlic with good heat and depth)

2-3" piece of ginger

1 large bundle of garlic chives (allium tuberosum) or green garlic

3 cups kombu broth (you can use anchovy broth if you prefer)

1 large bowl of dried Korean chiles (we use Lady Hermit for its distinct flavor in kimchi. A blend of Aleppo and Cayenne may be substituted) If you are using pre-ground gochugaru you need about 1 1/2 cups.

Season mustard leaves with coarse salt. We season the undersides where the stomates are on the leaves to pull the moisture out. Handle the leaves with care. Stack the leaves in a hotel pan or bucket and let sit for an hour or so. You may have to shift the bundle of leaves so that they wilt evenly.

Put 2 pieces of kombu in a medium pot with 3 cups water. Over low heat, bring the pot to a medium warm temperature. Do not boil. Warm water will best extract the glutamate in the seaweed. Right before it begins to simmer turn off heat and cover. Let sit for thirty minutes.

You can keep your scallions whole or cut them into 2 " lengths.

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind your chiles coarsely. Add the garlic and ginger and pulverize together. Gradually incorporate your kombu broth to make a thick paste.

The leaves are ready when the stems are pliable.

Rinse the leaves and gently squeeze excess water out.

Gather your scallions, leaves and paste and a large bowl to mix them in.

In batches, coat the leaves and scallions in the chile paste. Layer into a crock or glass jar. When the container is full, weigh down so that the liquid covers the greens. Let sit on a counter out of direct sunlight for a few days. After the first wave of fermentation has subsided, transfer into your refrigerator in a covered jar.

Our favorite time to eat it is after a month or so. Try it from time to time and see what you prefer. At first the flavor will be intense and pungent. But over time it will gradually mellow and deepen. When the flavor is strongest we like to throw it in ramen to add instant flavor to the broth. The addition of a little butter will actually help round out the intensity. After a month we enjoy it plain with rice, and the jar ends up going quite fast from that point on.


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