My husband and I decided we love kimchi enough to quit buying it and make our own. Most Korean families wouldn’t even consider buying this every-meal side dish, but since we’re not Korean, I don’t feel too bad about buying it in the store premade. However, its much more cost effective to do our own. I looked up a few recipes and decided on one from epicurious.com. Here’s how our version went:
1 gallon of water
1 head of Napa cabbage (on second look, this should have been 2)
1/2 cup salt
1 head of garlic, minced
1 chunk (around 2-3 inches) of fresh ginger, minced
1 bunch of green onion tops, finely chopped
1 daikon radish, sliced into thin strips
1/3 cup Korea chili powder (we used a Thai chili powder, I think it may have been spicier)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tsp red chili powder (used for color, in hind sight, may have been overkill)
Core the cabbage and cut into chunks. Dissolve the salt in the gallon of water and add the cabbage. This needs to soak for 2-3 hours. Make sure the cabbage is fully submerged. While it’s soaking, you can prepare the rest of your veggies. When the time is up, drain the cabbage. You could use a salad spinner to dry the cabbage. Since we don’t have one, we used a dish cloth to get the cabbage fairly dry by patting and squeezing it. Don’t crush your cabbage!!
I had to check to see exactly what a daikon radish looked like. They look like big fat white carrots, but pack much more of a punch. We peeled and chopped this guy up, then added it along with the rest of the ingredients to a large steel pot (it doesn’t get cooked, it was just easier to mix in a big container).
(pardon the cell phone picture!)
Once you’ve added all the ingredients, you can mix with your hands. Most recipes suggest using gloves to keep your hands from turning red. After it’s mixed, go ahead and place in the containers you like. It can be left out for a few days to ferment, after that it can be stored in the refrigerator for around 3 weeks. After the 3 weeks or so, it becomes too strong to eat alone, but could be used for soups or other recipes. Personally, this batch was pretty spicy (read: very clear sinus) and from what I understand will only get stronger. We should have used 2 cabbages instead of one, which may have mellowed it out a bit. Now that we have the recipe down, we’ll work on improving it!! I’ll let you know how that goes in the future. Enjoy!!