This is a great time of year for Napa Cabbage. With one stab at fermenting firmly under our belts [our summer pickles], this weekend, we decided we’d tackle one of our favourite fiery sides: Kimchi.
There are a bazillion Kimchi recipes out there to choose from. But, the technique is basically the same. Soak cabbage in salt water for at least a few hours. Then, drain the cabbage [reserving some of the brine]. Chop your vegetables [carrots, daikon, and spring onions]. Make a paste made of garlic, ginger, onions, apples or sugar, some sort of salty-yummy substance [salted shrimp or shrimp paste, fish sauce, veg. bean paste], and crushed asian hot peppers [a.k.a. Korean Gochugaru]. Then combine it all. And, set up your kimchi in a fermenting vessel or mason jar with a bit of that leftover brine, leaving it to ferment for a few days before eating or refrigerating.
For those of you who appreciate visual aids, here’s a Daikon, our Shrimp Sauce, and the Crushed Red Pepper:
Here’s our House Made Kimchi Visual DIY:
And, here’s our Recipe:
The Lunchbox Season's House Made Kimchi
- 1/2 Head Large Napa Cabbage [5-6 Cups Chopped as below]
- 1/4 Cup Sea Salt
- 10 - 12 Cups Cold Filtered Water
- 2 Cups Matchstick Carrots [About 3-4 Medium Carrots]
- Scant 2 Cups Matchstick Daikon Radish [About 1/2 Medium]
- 1 Small Onion
- 1 Large Knob of Ginger [about 1 inch] peeled and sliced
- 6-8 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Medium Apple
- 1 Tablespoon Fermented Shrimp Paste [or Salted Shrimp or Bean Paste] OPTIONAL
- 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce [or Water]
- 6 Spring Onions Greens Only, Thinly Chopped
- 1/4 - 1/2 Cup Gochugaru [Korean Chili Powder] or Ground Chiles from an Asian Grocer
- Slice the cabbage in half and set one half aside for future use.
- Remove and discard the core.
- Slice the half cabbage into 2 x 2-inch pieces.
- Place cabbage in a large bowl and toss with the salt.
- Cover the cabbage with the cold water.
- Place a plate on top of the cabbage in the bowl in order to weigh it down, submerging the cabbage in the brine.
- Set aside for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.
- Slice Carrots and Daikon into matchsticks, about 2 cups each, and place into a clean bowl.
- Slice Spring Onions and place these on top of the sliced vegetables.
- Drain cabbage, making sure to collect about 2 cups of the brine for later use.
- In a food processor, blend the onion, garlic, ginger, OPTIONAL shrimp paste, and fish sauce into a paste.
- Transfer paste to the bowl with the chopped vegetables.
- Sprinkle the Gochugaru on top of the vegetables and paste.
- With a non-reactive spoon or gloved hands, combine the ingredients until fully coated.
- Add the drained cabbage to the mixture and combine until fully coated.
- Place kimchi in a large fermenting crock or into mason jars.
- Place a weight in the crock or place small weights [we use little round soy sauce bowls] into the jars.
- Add a bit of the brine back to the mixture just to cover the top of the kimchi.
- Top with the crock lid, with a mason jar fermenting lid, or with a mason jar lid.
- Allow mixture to sit at room temperature for 5 to 7 days. [If you are using simple mason jar lids, you will want to open the jars to "burp" them, or let air out, about once a day.]
- Transfer the mixture from the crock to sealed containers or seal the mason jars.
- Refrigerate for up to one year.