Adapted from chef Pierre Sang
For this recipe, you can certainly save time by using your favorite store-bought variety of kimchi, but should you have the inclination and patience, it’s worth making Pierre Sang’s kimchi recipe below, which requires an overnight soak for the cabbage and at least a four-day fermentation period. You may substitute Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce if Korean fish sauce isn’t readily available.
- Place the cabbage in a large bowl or other container and cover with the quart of warm water. Stir in the 2½ ounces coarse salt and let sit overnight at room temperature. The next day, rinse and drain the cabbage.
- In a small pot, combine the rice and ¼ cup heavily salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender. Use an immersion blender or standard blender to puree the rice together with its cooking liquid. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the onion, pear, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and gochugaru and pulse to form a homogenous paste. Stir in the rice mixture and the baby shrimp and massage this mixture into the drained cabbage leaves. Transfer to a clean container with a lid. Make sure that the container is large enough to hold all of the cabbage, but with some extra space for the liquid that will emerge from the mixture as a result of fermentation. Press the cabbage down firmly to release any trapped air bubbles. Cover and let sit for two days at room temperature, then refrigerate for 4 to 10 days, until properly fermented.
- When ready to make the dish, portion out 7 ounces of kimchi and finely dice it. Add it to a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pan, then add the lentils. Add water just to cover, and the butter, cut into cubes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Drain off excess liquid, salt to taste, and serve.
Laurie Woolever is a writer, editor, and right-hand man to Anthony Bourdain, with whom she co-authored Appetites: A Cookbook in 2016. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the professional culinary program at the French Culinary Institute (now known as the International Culinary Center), and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Food & Wine, GQ, Saveur, Dissent, Lucky Peach, and more. Woolever was formerly an editor at Art Culinaire and Wine Spectator. She lives in New York.