Kimchi 통배추김치 is an ultimate staple on the Korean dinner table, so much so that batches of it are made at a time in a typical household. Think of a tangy and slightly spicy pickled cabbage if you haven’t tried it before. Making kimchi does take at least one week for it to be fully fermented and to have all the flavours come out but the benefits outweigh the time it takes for the kimchi to be ready.
The nutritional facts: it’s loaded with Vitamin A, B, and C but the best thing of all is that kimchi has an abundance of probiotics which keeps your insides healthy - great for those who have IBS or those who want to regulate digestion.
- 1 large napa cabbage (also known as Chinese leaves) or 2.5kg
- 270g Korean sea salt (divide into two)
- 1.175ml water
- 450g mooli or daikon (Korean radish), cut into matchsticks
- ¼ golden pear, cut into matchsticks
- 3 scallions, sliced into 1-inch lengths
For the seasoning:
- 1 tbsp glutinous rice powder. Mix with 120ml water and cook over a low heat until it thickens to a thin pale yellow paste (yields about 3-4 tbs). Set aside to cool (this is the glutinous rice paste)
- 150g gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
- 40g shrimp paste
- 3 tbs fish sauce
- 3 tbs garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 110ml water
- Clean kitchen gloves
- Airtight preserving jar or container
What to do:
- Cut the kimchi lengthwise into quarters
- Use a large basin to dissolve one half of the salt and water. Bathe each cabbage quarter in the salt water one at a time, shake off excess water back into the bowl, and then transfer to another large basin.
- Use the other half of the salt and starting from the outer leaf, generously sprinkle onto the white parts of each leaf. Repeat with all the cabbage quarters. Pour the remaining salt water from the first basin into the second basin. Set aside for 6 - 8 hours and rotate every 2 - 3 hours so the bottom ones go to the top
- After 6 - 8 hours, the cabbage should be soft and easy to bend. Rinse thoroughly 3 times, especially the white parts of the leaves. Drain well, cut side down and pat dry if needed
- Mix all the seasoning ingredients including the glutinous rice paste and water in another large basin (best to wear the kitchen gloves from now on). The mixture should now almost feel bubbly/ sponge-like due to the glutinous rice paste
- Add the mooli, pear and mix well with the seasoning. Set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours mesh
- After 30 minutes, place one cabbage quarter into the same basin with the mooli mix. Spread the mooli mix over each cabbage leaf - about 1 - 2 tablespoons per leaf
- Once the quarter is covered, wrap the outermost leaf towards the stem to hold it in. Place into the jar or container. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage quarters. Once all of the quarters are in the jar or container, squeeze the quarters so there are no air pockets. Rinse the bowl that contained the mooli mix with 100ml of water and pour over the kimchi
- Leave it at room temperature for 5 days, before moving it to the fridge for another 2 days. If you’re looking for a more fermented flavour, keep the kimchi at room temperature for one week before moving it to the fridge for another 3 days. This will help produce more probiotics
* keeping everything sterile and clean is essential if you want your kimchi to get a chance to be devoured. Try not to open the container of kimchi while it's fermenting. But if you're going to test-taste it make sure you do it with clean utensils and no moisture goes into the kimchi.