Kimchi, Korea’s national dish. Although the napa cabbage version is the most well known, kimchi is a name for a whole variety of fermented vegetables. Usually it’s eaten as a side dish, but it can also be used as an ingredient.
I had my first kimchi at a lokal Korean bbq restaurant. It’s been quite a few years and the restaurant has since been closed. I have had store bought, but I wanted to try making it myself.
I looked at many different methods and Maangchi was a huge inspiration. Still I continued my search. I wanted to make a smaller batch and preferred not to use any seafood in mine.
It’s seems there are many roads that lead to Rome. The amount of time people brine differs greatly, but also whether or not they use a rice flour porridge.
I found the Kitchn’s recipe and this seemed like a good start into the world of Kimchi. Not too many ingredients and made with just 1 napa cabbage. I ommited the turnip from my recipe.
- 1 napa cabbage
- 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
- 1 Tbs grated garlic (5-6 cloves)
- 1 ts grated ginger
- 1 ts sugar
- 3 Tbs water or 2 Tbs soy sauce + 1 Tbs water
- 1-5 Tbs Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
- 4 green onions in 1 inch pieces
For storing the kimchi I use clip top jars, but a plastic container with a lid works just fine. Remember to open the lid a couple of times in the first week so built up gases can escape.
Cut the cabbage into quarters length ways. Remove the core and cut into 2 inch pieces.
In a large bowl mix the pieces of cabbage with the salt. Add water until the cabbage is submerged and cover with a plate to hold the cabbage down. Leave for 1-2 hours.
Rinse and drain the cabbage at least 3 times with cold water and let it strain for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and dry the large bowl for later.
Mix the garlic, ginger, sugar, 2 Tbs soy sauce and 1 Tbs of water to a paste. Mix in the hot pepper flakes. 1 tablespoon for mild to 5 tablespoons for hot. I used 3 tablespoons, which I still found quite hot.
Mix the cabbage, green onion and the paste in the large bowl. You could use gloved hands, but I just used a spoon and mixed thoroughly. Make sure everything gets a coating of the paste.
Pack the kimchi into the jars and make sure you leave about 1 inch at the top. Seal with the lid.
Leave to ferment for 1-5 days at room temperature. I would put the kimchi in the refrigerator in summer for a more controlled fermentation.
In a few days the kimchi will start to bubble. If you open the lid you can hear the fizz. Open the lid regularly in the first week to let the gases escape.
After the first fermentation you can put your jars in the fridge. You could put a bowl or plate underneath your jars in case the brine starts to overflow. This wasn’t necessary for me. You will see the liquid start to rise.
After about 2 weeks the kimchi is “done”. However you could eat it fresh or months later. According to some, kimchi won’t ever go off. De flavor is spicy, but also sour. Like sauerkraut turns sour by fermentation.
A successful experiment although the kimchi is a bit spicier than I’ve had before. Next time I’ll be using 2 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes.
You could use the kimchi on it’s own as a side dish, below are to other way’s that I’ve eaten it.
Fried rice with green onions, red pepper, quite a few drops of sesame oil and of course kimchi.
Kimchi pancakes by Maangchi recipe. Click the link to see her recipe video. Make sure you fry the pancake nice and crispy on the outside, yum!
Don’t substitute regular pepper flakes for the Korean hot pepper flakes. Regular pepper flakes are much spicier. Read more about hot pepper flakes on Maangchi’s website.