kruizing with kikukat

Monday, May 20, 2013

Easy Koko

After weeks of cholesterol (fat-laden baked beans, smoked brisket & multiple trips to Leungs), I needed some time to regroup.  I love fatty foods, but even I need a break from the lipids.

This is a good time to take a trip down memory lane to Mt. View Gramma's house.  She was always cooking...always making something in the kitchen.  One thing I remember was her enameled tub in the corner of her immaculate kitchen.  Her tub was usually filled with some kind of vegetable, topped with a flat wooden board and weighted down with a large rock.  My "duty" was to clean my feet and step on the rock.  It was only when I was much older (and I was told not to step on the rock...I guess it wasn't cute anymore) did I realize what was the end result of this archaic contraption.

I think the formal/polite words to use to describe this might be tsukemono or oshinko or (fill-in-the-blank)zuke, but most people in Hawaii use koko to describe any type of humble pickles.

The modern way of making koko is to use a pickle pot.  The pickle pot is a self-contained vat where the pressure to smash the vegetables is provided by a screw-down plate aided by a spring.  This constantly applies pressure to the vegetables.  I got my pickle pot from Marukai.  If you don't have a pickle pot, there is nothing wrong with using Mt. View Gramma's veggies and other ingredients in a tub or bowl, put a plate over it and put something heavy on the plate.

There seems to be no law on how to cut the veggies to pickle, and while The Help told me they should be cut small, I've also seen people use large chunks of cabbage and cucumbers.  As far as the variety of vegetables...almost anything goes, but a cabbage or won bok is standard.  If you have ever dined at Miyo's, this recipe will produce a product very similar to the little plate accompanying the miso soup there (add grated ginger for the Miyo's version).  Sometimes, Miyo's will add bean sprouts to the vegetable mix and sprinkle a few sesame seeds over the top.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Easy Koko

     cabbage or won bok, cut small
     carrots (shredded, optional)
     daikon (cut into thin half moons, optional)
     cucumber (cut into thin half moons, optional)
     eggplant (cut into thin half moons, optional)
     1/4 c rock salt
     1/2 c sugar
     1/4 c vinegar
     2 c water
     grated ginger (optional)

Place cabbage in a pickle pot.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage.  Screw pickle pot down and leave for 2 days.  Drain well.

If using vegetable scraps (about 1/8 cabbage):

1 tbsp rock salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp water
grated ginger(optional)

This past Friday was the Ho`olaule`a at D2's school.  I passed on a work trip to Honolulu to attend, and I have no regrets.  D2 did an awesome job, and I am so proud of her.  D1 was in the audience too, and even she said she was proud of her sister.  Sniff, sniff.

We are down to the final days of school.  For some lucky people, Friday is the last day of the work for this school year.  For those less fortunate, there are eight days left.  Yippeeeeee!!!

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