Perhaps it is a bit of an overkill to start a post just to brag that I finally made a good batch of baechu kimchi, but I've been trying for literally years and years. Either they come out tasting sort of bleach-like, too salty, or ferment weirdly (slimy and off-tasting instead of effervescent). I followed Maangchi's recipe again, omitted the rice flour (which, for me, seems to ferment the kimchi too quickly...but that could also be my lame fridge), put in leeks (I'd previously just used the green onions...and I don't have access to Korean chives), a combination of flakes and powder, a different brand of fish sauce (switched to Three Crab via a recommendation from one of my mom's friends...very mellow flavor), and added a tiny bit of julienned carrot and some pureed pear for sweetness...success! Mom claims it turned out well b/c I used Kosher salt this time. She says it has properties that are beneficial to kimchi making (though she says sea salt is best). I don't know if that's the reason why, but I've been doing a happy dance all week long and shoving my kimchi into everyone's mouth, whether they want a piece or not.
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