Korean Kimchi with daikon, cabbage and hot red pepper flakes

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time --
Servings 3L
Unless your grandmother was Korean, you probably didn’t grow up with spicy cabbage fermenting in your home. And that’s a shame, really. The sweat-inducing, digestion-aiding ferment is served with almost every Korean meal. In fact, the Korean Food Research Institute estimates that the average adult Korean consumes more than 91 pounds of kimchi per year, about a quarter pound per day. That’s like a hamburger of fermentation!
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How it's made

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Chinese cabbage
  • 1 whole daikon radish or 10 small red radishes
  • 1 to 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion and/or leek (white part only), or 1 bunch scallions or 5 shallots

Brine:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 60 mg (~1/2 cup) non-iodized salt

Pepper paste:

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 cup Korean red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup vegan fish sauce or soy sauce

Directions

  1. Chop the cabbage into 1-inch slices crossways. Chop the daikon into rectangular slices about ¼” thick (you want piece that are thin enough to ferment well but won’t disappear into the dish). Chop the carrots to match and slice the onions (if you're using green onions don't add them yet). Stir the salt into the water in a very large mixing bowl. Add all the chopped vegetables. Leave for 1-2 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, grate the ginger (you don't have to peel it unless it's really old and knobby), grate or mince the garlic, and slice the scallions or green onions. Add the pepper flakes and soy sauce or vegan fish sauce. Drain the vegetables and taste. They should taste salty, but not so salty that you wouldn't want to eat it. If they’re too salty, rinse well.
  3. Wearing kitchen gloves, mix vegetables with the ginger-chili paste for 5 minutes, until the cabbage softens. Stuff into clean jars. Push down so there’s liquid on top of cabbage. Remove air bubbles from the kimchi with a chopstick if necessary. Press parchment paper or a sealed plastic bag of brine on top so the bag touches as much of the surface of the liquid as possible. Set on a tray to catch overflowing juice.
  4. Store in a cool place, smelling and tasting daily for 3-7 days. Don’t seal the jar or it could explode! In a hotter room, the fermentation will happen faster. The more salt, the slower the fermentation (it’s a preservative). If stored in a cool basement or any cold place, kimchi ferments more slowly, the vegetables stay firmer and they develop more complex flavors. There’s also less chance of oxidation (undesirable sparkly kimchi). If kimchi appears dry, press down on cabbage to force juices to cover all ingredients. If mold develops on top of the kimchi, scrape it off. The rest of the kimchi will still be safe to eat. But if white mold grows beneath the top layer, discard the kimchi.
  5. When fermented to your taste, discard parchment paper or brine bag, cover jars with lids and transfer to fridge.

Note: Kimchi keeps for about 6 months to a year.

Amie Watson
Recipe By

Amie Watson

Amie is a heavyweight food writer and a lightweight television personality but a featherweight foodie. She loves writing recipes and restaurant reviews for her blog, Multiculturiosity and freelancing with enRoute, Menu International, Fine Dining Lovers, MAtv and Ricardo Media. She loves all things local, organic, gluten-free and dairy-free, but only if they’re delicious. Celery root? Well, it's growing on her.

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