After receiving some yummy spices in the mail last week I decided to whip up a batch of kimchi. I have tried previous times to make it with limited success. The first recipe that I had tried was good but it wasn’t really a true kimchi it was more of a vegetable kraut and I shredded everything MUCH to small. The second time I made it I followed the recipe in Wild Fermentation, it was good but it wasn’t the vibrant red colour I have seen in traditional kimchis.
Once my spices arrived I got right to work. I had a ~2.5lb napa cabbage that I removed the core and cut into chunks along with some sliced daikon, and sliced carrots. I weighted it down and soaked it in a brine (as described in WF) for several hours until the cabbage was nice and wilted and the vegetables were soft. I made a paste with some garlic, korean chilies, ginger, fish sauce and scallions. I drained the vegetables, mixed with the spices and shoved it into a jar and let it sit. I left mine for about 3 days (it was very hot here) to reach my desired taste. You can leave it longer it is just my personal preference. It was lovely it hissed and spewed brine all over by the result was a nice tangy kimchi that had a hint of spice (and a LOT of garlic, next time I won’t be some heavy handed with the garlic).
I was given the recipe for the kimchi by the same wonderful friend who sent me the spices. I am in love with it!
Spicy Kimchi (makes approximately 1.5L) (modified from Wild Fermentation)
- 1 head of nappa (or Chinese) cabbage (2-3lbs)
- 1 or 2 Carrots
- 1 daikon
- 3 or more scallions
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1″ long piece of ginger
- 2 tbsp Korean chili powder (more if you want it spicy)
- 1-2tbsp fish sauce
- Core and cut the cabbage, slice the daikon, and carrots and add to a bowl. Add salt and water to make a brine (I used about 3 tbsp of salt and enough water to cover everything). Weigh the vegetables down so they stay under the brine and let sit for several hours or until soft and wilted. Drain, reserving some of the brine.
- Grate the ginger and chop up the garlic. Mix together with the Korean chili powder and the fish sauce. Add in the chopped scallions.
- Drain the vegetables and reserve some of the brine, mix the spice paste with the veggies until thoroughly mixed. Pack into a 1.5L jar or into a quart and a pint jar, pressing hard so the brine comes up over the vegetables and weigh down the veggies to keep them submerged. (Do this wearing gloves otherwise your hands will be quite spicy!)
- Ferment the kimchi in a corner or your kitchen out of direct sunlight. If you are using a jar that does not have a gasket or an airlock make sure you burp them as a lot of gas is produced. Place them on a plate or a towel to catch any drips that might stain your counter. Start tasting them at 3 days until they reach your desired level of sourness, then transfer to the fridge.
I made my kimchi in a fido style jar (bail top with a rubber gasket), it is self burping and every so often on days 2 and 3 we would hear a hissing or gurgling sound coming from the jars as the pressure was released. For some reason each time this happen my 3 year old went into hysterics, she thought it was so funny.
So there you have it, simple, easy, delicious not too spicy kimchi.