Kimchi That Will Change Your Life

Does that sound like hyperbole?

kimchi

You never knew that fermented spicy cabbage could have such impact, did you?

A few things first:

1) Do not dismiss it until you've tried it. :)

2) As one of Korea's national dishes, kimchi is considered one of the top healthiest foods.

3) You'll never want to buy store-bought after you make your own.

4) Fermenting may become one of my favorite new hobbies: Make something. Leave it alone. Enjoy it a few days later, better than it was before. Many things get better with time...not all things, but surely the best things...:)

So, per my usual non-measuring ways in recipe writing, I've jotted down the approximate amounts and the way I went about making this...you can hardly mess up kimchi. It's quite forgiving...and intensely rewarding! Try it!

Life-Changing Kimchi

  • 1 large head of napa cabbage
  • 1 large daikon radish, peeled and julienned
  • a 2-inch piece of ginger, thinly slivered/julienned (you can go more, but don't go less...)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp or so of fish sauce (Editor note: I originally had noted 1/2 tbs, but that may be too strong for most folks!)
  • 1/8 cup sea salt
  • 3 heaping tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bunch green onions, ends removed, halved lengthwise then cut into thirds
  • 1/2 cup Korean red chile powder (or to taste)

(I made a double batch, so some of the pictures reflect double quantities.)

You'll need a large 1 gallon glass jar or container with a tight fitting lid. (I recently saved a giant whole pickle jar from Costco, and it works perfectly for a double batch.)

kimchi: cabbage

Wash cabbage and remove core and end. Cut remaining cabbage head into thirds, roughly 2 or 3-inch pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage with the sea salt. Let cabbage sit for 30 minutes or so, while you prepare the other ingredients. Then pound with a wooden dowel or mallet, or simply use your hands to bruise the cabbage, and draw out the liquid. Drain off excess water pulled out from the salt.

kimchi: ginger
kimchi: scallions
kimchi: red chile powder

Combine the rest of the ingredients with the cabbage, and massage the red chile powder into the cabbage, (yes, I said massage--how else do you describe it! :) ) and press firmly into the glass jar or container. You should have a few inches of space at the top of the container for expansion during fermentation. Close lid tightly, and leave undisturbed for 4 days before placing in refrigerator. The kimchi should be sour and fermented.

kimchi: fish sauce
DSC_0039

A few tips:

-Either mix altogether in a large bowl, or if mixing in a jar, combine in layers.

-To peel the ginger, simply use a small spoon, and scrape away from you down all sides of the piece of ginger

-I'm Chinese, so I tend to appreciate lots of slicing and dicing, and the texture of "pieces"...if you would rather grate or shred or food process everything but the cabbage, that's fine as well. :)

-You can eat the kimchi fresh and unfermented.

-Serve your kimchi with chapchae or bulgogi

-Really soured kimchi makes THE best soup: kimchi jjigae.

kimchi

I'm no expert, but my method was simple (skipped a few traditional steps) and worked for me! Let me know if you have questions...and if you try it and like it!