Basic Kimchi Recipe (or: why I’m posting recipes)

I make (and eat) a lot of kimchi, certainly by British standards. I almost always have a jar in the fridge; I have it as part of my breakfast most days, and at dinner probably a couple of times a week. It’s incredibly convenient; it’s pre-seasoned, pre-chopped veggies just ready to add to your stir-fry/eggs/rice/noodles.

Kimchi, ready to go (photobombed by sourdough…)

For years, I’ve used this recipehttps://www.chowhound.com/recipes/easy-napa-cabbage-kimchi-kimchee-29505 as my go-to (with mods; described below), and recently was horrified to discover that the whole of Chowhound had suddenly shut down while I wasn’t looking…

Fortunately, I found it replicated here, along with a bunch of other recipes that I haven’t tried yet. (Might; might not). But that’s the point at which I realised I really want to start recording, rather than just bookmarking, the recipes I make on a regular basis. I’m a little anxious that I shouldn’t be posting other people’s recipes, whole and verbatim, in my own blog, and I haven’t quite figured out what to do about that yet. In this case, I feel OK about it, as the original source is no longer available…

The original recipe:

Ingredients
  • 1 2-pound Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 12 cups cold water, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces daikon radishes, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
  • 4 medium scallions, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces using all parts
  • 1/3 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger from about a 2-ounce piece
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic cloves (from 6 to 8 medium cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons minced Korean salted shrimp
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces, discarding the root end. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and toss with your hands until the cabbage is coated. Add enough cold water to just cover (about 12 cups), making sure the cabbage is submerged (it’s OK if a few leaves break the surface). Cover with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let sit at room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Place a colander in the sink, drain the cabbage, and rinse with cold water. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the cabbage and toss with your hands until evenly combined and the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the mixture. Pack the mixture tightly into a clean 2-quart or 2-liter glass jar with a tightfitting lid and seal the jar. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours (the mixture may bubble). Open the jar to let the gases escape, then reseal and refrigerate at least 48 hours before eating (kimchi is best after fermenting about 1 week). Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Instructions
  1. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces, discarding the root end. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and toss with your hands until the cabbage is coated. Add enough cold water to just cover (about 12 cups), making sure the cabbage is submerged (it’s OK if a few leaves break the surface). Cover with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let sit at room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
  2. Place a colander in the sink, drain the cabbage, and rinse with cold water. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the cabbage and toss with your hands until evenly combined and the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the mixture. Pack the mixture tightly into a clean 2-quart or 2-liter glass jar with a tightfitting lid and seal the jar. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours (the mixture may bubble). Open the jar to let the gases escape, then reseal and refrigerate at least 48 hours before eating (kimchi is best after fermenting about 1 week). Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

My tweaks:

  • I don’t add the fishy ingredients. I know that’s heresy to some, but though I’m not a vegetarian myself, I do feed vegetarians on occasion. I am happy to add fish sauce/shrimp paste while cooking if I want it in the finished dish
  • I don’t add the sugar, either. I’ve tried it with and without, and haven’t found much difference.
  • I usually use carrot instead of daikon. The co-op has carrots.

I’ve made this with all sorts of greens. Kale works well! Savoy cabbage is a bit too tough. You can even use lettuce (but it’s a bit limp).

Summary: ferment stuff! Make tasty foods! (They say it’s also very good for you…)

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