Kimjang and Bossam

Does it sound like a title of something? Nah. My sister-in-law and I did “kimjang” in mid-December last year. Kimjang is the traditional kimchi-making event that is usually done in late autumn. Despite my very busy schedule, I had to set aside two days to help my eldest SIL to make kimchi for the family.

Ingredients for kimchi

There are three stages in a kimjang: preparing the cabbages (cut, wash and salt); making the sauce; and stuffing the cabbages. We prepared 30 heads of the huge napa cabbage for the kimjang. If I remember it correctly, we used about 10 kilograms of salt and 10 huge radishes. I don’t remember how many cups of red pepper powder (gochu-karu) we used but it was a must to wear safety gloves while mixing it with the julienne cut radishes.
Mixing the red pepper powder with the radish

It was kinda difficult to take pictures while making kimchi so I don’t really have a lot of pictures to show. Aside from the red pepper powder, we also added salted shrimps (se-u jeot), fish paste (ek jeot), maesil juice, julienne cut Asian pear, lots of garlic and ginger, green onions, mustard leaves and sticky rice paste. Whew!
Stuffing for kimchi

My sister-in-law said it’s hard to quantify the ingredients when making kimchi. Experience will tell you how much of each ingredient is necessary. She was only nine years old when she started helping her mom make kimchi and she’s now in her late 40s.
The ingredients for kimchi also depends on the region. The version we made, according to my SIL, is Seoulite since we used pear. She said Gangwon-do uses apples (her mom is from that province) while Chuncheongbuk-do (my MIL’s province) uses carrots.
We started preparing the sauce or stuffing for kimchi at around 9 o’clock in the morning. We paused at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon for lunch. Part of the kimjang tradition is to eat “bossam” or boiled pork loin with the newly made kimchi. We wrapped slices of the boiled pork loin in cabbage.
Bossam or boiled pork loin

Too bad, I lack a good camera and photography skills to show you how yummy lunch was; but I remember not having dinner that day!
Cabbage, kimchi, oysters and a slice of bossam

After lunch, we stuffed the salted cabbages with the stuffing we made. It took us more than three hours to finish all 30 cabbages! We filled about 12 containers and one side of our kimchi refrigerator is all cabbage kimchi that would last us until 2012!
Kimchi topped with cabbage leaves

It was fun and the lunch was filling!


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