KIMCHI – KOREAN STAPLE FOR EVERY DAY!
Kimchi, my version of a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and much more. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with different vegetables as the main ingredients. In traditional preparations, kimchi was stored underground in jars to keep cool, and unfrozen during the winter months. These days, kimchi refrigerators are used instead.
Back December of 2015 I made my second batch of KIMCHI. I combined the best of two recipes I had on hand. One from a book, the other from a friend in Michigan who was a blogger at the time. My first batch left me not liking it at all. And wondering why people are so excited about it.
Kimchi is an acquired taste for many. You either like it or you don’t. But with the fermentation revolution happening, it is one ferment that has gained great momentum within the fermentation community. It’s like most foods…. it’s easier to love a food if it’s started very early on in your life. But oh my, those veggies you despised when young can suddenly turn into a love affair with them when you get older. As I mentioned above my first batch didn’t go over well with me. Months went by, maybe it was a year or more before I decided I was going to give it a whirl again. And am I glad I did. Because I absolutely love KIMCHI now. And did I say, it’s definitely a ferment you can put your own stamp on. In Korea there are hundreds of versions of it.
I hope you enjoy this version of mine and give it a try.
Various containers for making Kimchi Anaerobically – requiring an absence of free oxygen:
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- COMBINED 10 LBS TOTAL OF THE FOLLOWING VEGGIES:
- 4 head Nappa Cabbage
- Mustard Greens
- Baby Bok Choy / around 6 - 8
- Daikon - 1 large
- Scallions / green onions
- 1 2/3 cups of coarse sea salt
- 10 cups water
- FISH SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
- 2 1/2 heads fresh garlic (do not by peeled cloves you want fresh garlic)
- 5 onions - your choice, I used white
- 2 1/2 inches ginger root / grated
- 3/4 - 1 cup Korean Coarse Red Pepper (can be found in Asian Markets)
- 5 tsp. cane sugar or honey
- 5 T. Fish Sauce / I use the Red Boat brand - only 2 ingredients fish and salt, no preservatives.
- 5 T. Soy Sauce / I use a gluten free brand called Organic Tamari Sauce found in Asian stores and many other stores now.
- 1. Rinse the napa cabbage, cut lengthwise into 4 parts, cut away the core. Then slice into about 1 inch sice peices. Toss the cabbage into the bowl, start to fill with cool water and the salt. Stire well to start dissolving the salt.
- 2. Rinse the mustard greens and chopped. Rinse the baby bok choy, slice them down the middle leaving in halves, check for dirt / rinse if needed. Peel the daikon and slice thinly. Rinse the scallions, cut away ends, then thinly slice lengthwise (if they are long cut the slices into half or thirds). Peel the carrots - grate them or slice them very thin. NOW add all to the cabbage mix.
- 3. Stir all the above well making sure the salt gets evenly distributed. Add more water iff needed to cover all the veggies. Cover with a towel and put aside in a cool spot to soak overnight.
- In the morning drain the veggie mix and then proceed to rinse / drain at least 3 times.
- Taste the veggies, they should still taste salty. Place the rinse / drained veggies back into the large mixing bowl and set aside
- KIMCHI SAUCE:
- Using a food processor or a blender. Put the garlic cloves, onions that have been peeled and quartered, ginger root,Korean coarse red pepper, honey, fish sauce, soy or tamari sauce into the machine. Turn on the and blend till smooth. Add just enough water to keep it a paste consistency.
- MIXING AND PACKING:
- Pour the sauce over the veggies. Incorporate all ingredients well with a big spoon or use your hands it’s actually easier. Note: the Korean red pepper is not hot so it will not burn your hands. TASTE THE MIX at this point. If it does not taste salty anymore - add extra salt of same your used earlier. Mix well and taste again. Keep adding if needed till you get a salty taste to your mixture.
- In a 5 Liter (or you could use 5 - 1liters / or 1 - 2 liter + 3 liter ) PACK the Kimchi into the jar / jars using a kraut pounder to pack it down tight. Fill the jar to the hip line - this should leave about 2 inches headspace in the jar. There is no need for extra brine for this. Place a weight on. Clean the rim of the jar, put gasket on lid, assemble the lid onto jar and clamp down shut.
- I label all my glass fermentation jars with a black sharpe. Name of ferment, date started. It scrubs off easily with a scrub pad and dish soap later.
- Traditionally 2 weeks is the shortest ferment time for Kimchi. It all depends on how sour you like it.
- You can be adventurous and let yours go a long time. I completely forget a batch I did and when I realized it, it was 8 months. It was AMAZING in taste. I actually loved it more than a shorter fermenting time.
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