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Why is this recipe interesting?
- Kimchi is a Korean staple dish that includes fermented vegetables mixed with spicy sauce. It has complex flavors and tastes tangy, spicy and pungent.
- Kimchi goes so well dumplings, noodles, fried rice, summer rolls or straight from the jar.
- Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that is used to make sauerkraut and pickles. It was originally a way to preserve vegetables for winter.
- 1 medium-sized napa or Chinese cabbage about 2 pounds
- 4 scallions finely spiced
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 carrot grated
- 4 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce alternatively use fish sauce
- 1 to 4 tbsp Korean chilli flakes gochugaru
- Water as needed
- Chop the cabbage and add to a large bowl. Add salt and massage it into the cabbage until it starts to soften. Add water to cover the cabbage. Stir a bit to dissolve salt into the water. Place a heavy plate over it to weigh the cabbage down. Let it sit for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
- The next morning, drain the cabbage and save the brine. Add it into a bowl along with chopped onion, scallion and grated carrot.
- Make a spice paste by mixing minced ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, gochugaru and a little water (if needed).
- Using your hands, gently mix this spice paste with the vegetable. Mix well until well coated.
- Pack this kimchi in a quart jar and weigh it down using a wooden spoon. Pour the brine you saved on top to cover the vegetables. Leave an inch space at the top. Cover loosely by placing a small zip lock filled with brine that serves the purpose of weighing it down.
- Let it sit to ferment in cooler room temperature away front direct sunlight for 3-6 days.
- Check every day once. Weigh it down a bit. Check if the vegetable is covered in brine. If not top with more brine. This process also burps it as it lets the air out of the jar.
- On day three, check if the flavor is sour enough for you. For tangier kimchi, keep fermenting until day six. Just keep checking it every day and refrigerate if need be.
- Refrigerate it after the sixth day. It stays good in a refrigerator for a year. The flavors keep getting complex and tangy as time goes.
Substitutions & Shortcuts
- You can add more vegetables to kimchi like radishes (or daikon), cucumber, green beans, scallions etc.
- You can substitute soy sauce with fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, miso paste.
Lessons learned while making this dish
- Use distilled or filtered water as chlorinated water can hinder the fermentation process.
- Use iodine-free salt as that hinders fermentation.
- Start with one tbsp of Korean red chilli (gochugaru) if you’re used to milder taste. Stir in more along the process if needed.
- The ideal temperature to ferment kimchi is 12.78-18.33 C (55-65 F). If it is hotter, ferment it in a cooler and dark place.