I am new to homemade kimchi, but found it relatively easy to do without much fuss, thanks to guidelines from The Kitchn. Cabbage, daikon radish, and scallions are coated with paste made of garlic, ginger, honey, and red pepper flakes. Now let’s walk through the process of making cabbage kimchi.
Cut up a large head of Napa cabbage that weighs roughly around 2 pounds. Slice it into quarters, remove the cores, and then cut the leaves into wide 2-inch strips. Place this in a large bowl with the salt. (Use salt free of iodine.) Massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to get soft, and then cover the cabbage with water. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy to press. Leave it for one hour. The purpose of the salty brine is to kill off harmful bacteria.
While you wait for the cabbage to soak, you can prepare the other ingredients. Grate the garlic and ginger, and dice the daikon and scallions. Combine the ingredients for the paste and set it aside. The spicy flavor comes from gochugaru, or Korean red pepper flakes – if you cannot find any, chili paste is also okay to use.
Once the hour is up, rinse the cabbage under cold water and drain for 15 minutes. Repeat this rinsing and draining two more times to get all the salt off the leaves. Gently squeeze out the remaining water, and then mix it with the other ingredients. I suggest wearing gloves to work the paste into the vegetables.
The last step is packing the kimchi. Press the vegetables into the jars, packing until the brine comes over the top of the vegetables. Leave about an inch of space at the top and seal with a lid. Then let the jars sit at room temperature for 1-5 days. Check it once a day, pressing down on the vegetables to keep them submerged. Taste it and see if it is to your liking. Once it has a flavor you like, transfer it to the refrigerator. It’s ready to enjoy any time!
Once you get basic kimchi down, you can add all types of moderations – there are many different kinds. You can truly make it your own, according to your own tastes. The red pepper spice can easily be adjusted to how hot you would like it. Enjoy it with fried rice, eggs, mixed into soup, or alongside pulled pork. What’s your favorite way to enjoy kimchi?
- 1 head Napa cabbage, about 2 lbs.
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 7 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 3-4 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) or chili paste
- 9 oz. daikon radish, peeled and finely diced
- 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Cut the cabbage into quarters lengthwise and remove the cores. Cut each into strips 2-inches wide. Place in a large bowl with the salt. Use your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften. Add enough water to cover the cabbage. Place a plate on top and weigh it down with a heavy object. Let stand for 1 hour.
- Rinse the cabbage under cold water and then place in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. Repeat this step two more times.
- Meanwhile, stir together the garlic, ginger, honey, fish sauce, and Korean red pepper flakes in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
- Squeeze out any remaining water from the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Add the daikon radish, scallions, and paste. Mix thoroughly, using your hands to work the paste into the vegetables until they are coated.
- Place the kimchi into a jar, pressing down until the brine rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1-inch of space. Seal the jar with a lid.
- Let the jar stand at room temperature for 2-5 days to ferment. Check once a day, pressing down on the vegetables to keep them submerged. When the kimchi tastes as desired, transfer to the refrigerator to store.