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Posted by on Aug 7, 2013 in Banchan (Side Dishes), Korean Food | 0 comments

Recipe: Swiss Chard Kimchi

Recipe: Swiss Chard Kimchi

Swiss chard can conjure up a culinary cringe akin to that for kale, but this taming-of-the-chard recipe harnesses the softening, bold-flavored characteristics of 김치 kimchi recently employed to conquer kale.

A couple of months ago, I joined a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm affiliated with our local community college. I’m still reaping its bounty each week, but there’s usually at least one challenging vegetable in the pack. Rather than leave it behind and let the CSA donate the more unfamiliar produce to a food pantry, I put to work the long-recognized ingenuity of Koreans to make even lawn clippings delicious.

Recently, the CSA package included a small bunch of Swiss chard, another green leafy vegetable I have never eaten or cooked with before. After my success with kale kimchi, I decided to try making Swiss chard kimchi.

The Greeks and Romans were cultivating Swiss chard as far back as the fourth century B.C., according to Susan Liechty, Ohio State University Exten­sion volunteer mas­ter gar­dener in Delaware County. It’s still popular throughout the Mediterranean to this day.

The Swiss chard variety in my CSA pack was ‘Ruby Chard.’ It’s distinguished by its bright crim­son leaf stalks and veins with dark green leaves.

I used the basic, downsized kimchi paste recipe adapted from the Week of Menus blog for kale kimchi.

Don’t like the taste or texture of Swiss chard? The fish sauce, bold spiciness and garlic of this recipe might change your mind.

Swiss Chard Kimchi

inspired by Week of Menus
Makes about 2 cups of kimchi

1 bunch Swiss chard
1/4 cup fish sauce (or 1/8 cup fish sauce and 1/8 cup soy sauce)
1/8 cup mochiko (“sweet” flour from cooked sticky rice)
3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons 고추가루 gochugaru (Korean red chili powder) (or 2–2.5 tablespoons of cayenne powder)
1/8 cup garlic, finely chopped

  1. Wash the Swiss chard, trim the stems to the leaves and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place the washed, chopped Swiss chard in a large bowl. Drizzle fish sauce over the leaves and toss them to lightly coat them with sauce. Set aside for about 45 minutes to allow the Swiss chard to wilt. 
  3. While the Swiss chard is softening, add rice powder, water and sugar to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Whisk and stir constantly, until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Continue whisking for another minute after the bubbles form. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. After Swiss chard has rested in the fish sauce and the rice flour mixture cools to barely warm, carefully drain the fish sauce in the bottom of the Swiss chard bowl into the rice flour mixture.
  5. Finely chop a handful of garlic cloves by hand or in a food processor. 
  6. To rice flour mixture, mix gochugaru and finely chopped garlic, making a red paste.  Mixture should taste salty, so add a bit more fish sauce, if necessary.
  7. Using a spatula, mix the red paste with the Swiss chard, using a gentle folding motion, until all leaves are coated.
  8. Pack the chard kimchi into a small wide-mouthed jar. Do not overstuff it; leave about 1/4 inch of space at the top for fermentation.
  9. Leave the jar on the counter for about two hours.
  10. Refrigerate the jarred kimchi. Periodically taste-test it for the level of fermentation preferred. Ours was ready in about a week.

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