Fish and Steamed Vegetables in Thai Basil Sauce with Kimchi and Brown Rice

A big spread: Lots of Steamed Veggies over brown rice, with thai basil sauce, cooked dabs (fish) and kimchi (and birdy too- far left)

So, last night was one of those nights.  Both Theresa and I arrived home after 6pm and arrived tired, hungry and grumpy.  One of those nights that, there was this feeling of, ‘you know, screw this, we’re getting takeout.’  Nonetheless, we scrambled to put dinner together, feeling pretty put out and irritable with each other.  We managed to make dinner, and it turned out well, but after dinner, knowing we still had an open slot for the week, we went and procured Maples gelato to go with our dessert and to comfort ourselves after a long day.

The meal:  We steamed carrots, cabbage, broccoli, tastoi, kale, and eggplant.

The steamed veggies over brown rice

We pan-cooked dabs (our fish this week from Cape Ann’s Fresh Catch CSF) in coconut oil (that we still are nursing).

The dabs (a flat fish) it didn't hold together very well in pan-cooking, but it certainly was tasty.

We made a thai basil sauce: 1 chopped onion, 4 chopped cloves of garlic, 3 tbsp of chopped ginger, 1 cup of chopped basil, 1 chili pepper, some dulse seaweed, 3 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, and a dash of lemon juice. To make the sauce, you cook the onion, garlic, hot pepper, and ginger in some vegetable oil, then add the rest of the ingredients, let simmer, turn off and serve.

The thai basil sauce

Homemade kimchi

We made our own kimchi from left over napa cabbage from a distribution ago.

mmm... napa cabbage

It was a really fun process, but I have to say that the kimchi was good, but not as good as other kimchi’s we have had. Usually, when we make something ourselves it is even tastier than what you can buy.  This time, not as much.  Perhaps we are really spoiled from Real Pickles.  The kimchi recipe that we followed:  1 head of napa cabbage, about a gallon of water, and 1/2 cup of salt.  We washed and chopped the cabbage, then submerged it in the salty water and weighed it down to keep it fully submerged.  We let it soak for 4 hours.

Cabbage submerged in brine (a plate and canned tomatoes weighing it down).

Then we rinsed, and squeezed the cabbage ( to remove excess moisture and sort of massage it) and added an amazing sauce to it: 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and skin removed, 1 3 inch piece of ginger root, 1/4 cup of fish/soy sauce.  These ingredients were blended to make a most amazing smelling paste.  Then add 1/8 cup crushed red pepper, a dash of hot sauce, 1 small shopped onion, 1 tsp of sugar.  We mixed this sauce really well with the cabbage.

Cabbage mixed with kimchi sauce

Then we packed the mixture into jars, taking great pains to remove any air bubbles, packing it very very tightly into jars.

Well packed jars of kimchi to be

The next step was a little scary.  We just let them sit (covered of course) on the counter for a few days to ferment.  It did ferment, air bubbles began to form, and the juice took on a zingy flavor.  However, the excess air pushed a lot of the standing liquid out of the jars onto the counter, and I think that the tasty sauce was somewhat removed from the cabbage by the end.  This is my theory as to why the kimchi doesn’t seem to taste as good as it did before the fermentation process, especially since it is not salty at all now.  It also could be that we did not let it ferment enough.  We are letting it sit on the counter a little longer to see if the flavor improves.  It is also possible that perhaps our fermentation wasn’t quite right, didn’t selectively let only the tasty microbes grow.  Not sure…. this was a first time try for us.  Either way the kimchi we made was not bad, but I found we needed to add a bit of salt to it, to improve the flavor.  Well, we’ve learned at least one thing, don’t pack our kimchi jars so full, to avoid mess and perhaps retain tasty juices.  We will see how it goes for the rest of the week, we’ll be having more tonight.  We may in the end only make unfermented kimchi- it tasted really good before we let it sit out, and you know, we’d be happy with that in he end too. (By the way, if anyone has had a great deal of experience making kimchi, and has some pointers, don’t hesitate to share!)

For dessert:  We had the rest of our ginger-pear pudding, and had the lovely addition of Maples Maple Walnut Gelato and some herbal tea.  A nice end to our evening.


A last thought…. marion birdy eating rice from chopsticks. Pretty cute, you have to admit.

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4 Responses to Fish and Steamed Vegetables in Thai Basil Sauce with Kimchi and Brown Rice

  1. Sounds delicious! I make a good crazy chicken rice noodle dish with Thai basil.
    I’m looking for more recipes that use that herb.

  2. Angie says:

    Kudos on your trying on making your own Kimchi! I just happened to see your blog while searching for recipes combining kimchi with basil 🙂 As a Korean-American who grew up on homemade kimchi as a child but just started making her own kimchi herself after years of struggle with supermarket kimchi, I have to sat it is so admirable (& soooooo cute) that you tried to make your own kimchi.

    After trials & errors, I realize that making kimchi is like as compelex as baking which is known for requiring precision and scientific mindset, although it can also be forgiving sometimes if you’re lucky. It requires years of experience for sure and the whole thing is very organic!!

    Here are two great (& easy) instructions I’m using and I highly recommend you try 🙂

    Happy cooking!

    • Thanks you for the resources! We were a little discouraged after our first attempt over flowed something awful, but were stoked when it sort of worked in the end.

      We’ll have to give your suggestions a try and report back on how we do! Good luck with your own Kimchi.

  3. Pingback: Vegetables of the Week: Garlic Scapes, Napa Cabbage, Beets, Dill, and Endive | The Lovely Locavore Ladies of Boston

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