Norwitz Notions

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Turnip Pickles

February 7th, 2008 · by Cyndi · 1 Comment

I was inspired by a trip to Han Il Kwan, a Korean restaurant in San Francisco. They had a huge spread of fermented dishes, including glorious crisp and sour turnip pickles. My attempt was simple and only partially successful.

I can tell you straight out that I used the wrong kind of turnip. What I had was ordinary purple top, but the ones at the restaurant were a different variety (the waitstaff didn’t know which). I also didn’t get the seasonings right.

The recipe for this or any other fermented vegetable is very easy. Wash and cut your vegetable(s). I used turnips and some dried chile peppers I removed the seeds from and broke up with my hands. Put in a bowl with some salt (I used kosher, to taste). Knead it all a bit so the juices release, or just let it sit.

Next, pack the veggies tightly into a clean glass jar or other container. Pour the juice into the jar. Put a weight into the jar to keep the veggies submerged (I used a clean soy sauce jar with water in it). Cover the whole thing with a towel and check it the next day. If there isn’t enough liquid, add some salt water.

Fermented vegetables in jars

Kim Chee, Red Onions, and Turnips
The pan of soapy water is to keep out ants

Then let it sit for a week, two, three, or as long as you like. If there is mold, just wipe/spoon it away and clean the weight too. When you are ready to decant, work carefully so that you keep any mold on top where it is easy to get rid of it. This batch had plenty on top but I spooned it out then poured the top bit of liquid in the sink. Don’t be afraid of mold; there is so much good bacteria in the mix that the mold isn’t going to hurt you, it just can add an off taste.

Decanting the turnip pickles, some mold on top

Now you’re ready to eat. This picture is of the kim chee I made (on left) and the turnip pickles (on right). I tried the turnip pickles after a week of fermenting and they had very little flavor and were quite boring. I finally decanted them after 6 weeks. The flavor is good (though not at all spicy) but the texture is too soft. They’re still quite edible but nothing like the restaurant pickles. Now I have an excuse to make more.

Kim Chee and Turnip Pickles

Categories: Food · Recipes · Snacks · Vegetable Dishes
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