Delicious Kimchi - fermented cabbage with selected vegetables and spices

BREAKING NEWS: Kimchi may play a role in protecting against COVID-19

(Makes 2 – 2½ quarts)

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 medium Napa cabbage (4-5 inch head diameter)
  • Coarse sea salt, for brine

Starch Mixture:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour or sweet rice flour

Vegetable Mixture:

  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • ½ cup shredded radish
  • 4 green onions, cut in ½ -1 inch lengths

Seasoning Mixture:

  • 2½ Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2½ Tbsp. minced ginger
  • ¼ medium onion, minced
  • 5 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. fish sauce (Skip fish sauce if vegan recipe is required)
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt (add 2 tsp. sea salt if fish sauce is not used)
  • ½ cup gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes - adjust to your preferred spice level)

Directions:

  1. Discard the loose outer leaves and quarter the cabbage lengthwise. Cut out the core. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Place the cabbage as a thin layer in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt, about 1Tbsp. on each layer. Repeat these steps until the cabbage is all placed in the bowl.
    Use the salt carefully. Too much salt will leave the cabbage tough and over-salty. Too little salt will leave the cabbage less crunchy, with too much water in it.
  3. Set aside the salted cabbage to brine at room temperature. Turn leaves every 30 minutes so they will brine evenly. At 70°F the brining process will take about 1½ hours. Brining time varies depending on the temperature, amount of salt, and the size of the cabbage.
  4. Once brining is complete, submerge the cabbage in cold water. Rinse thoroughly, drain the excess water. Set aside. The majority of the cabbage should remain fairly opaque and only exhibit some translucency at the edges and in the thinnest areas.
  5. Make the starch mixture by combining the flour and water in a small pot, mixing well. Once it starts bubbling around the edges of the pot, begin stirring regularly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for another 2-3 minutes until its consistency resembles that of pudding. Set aside to cool. If sweet rice flour is used, cook it for just one minute once it comes to a boil.
  6. Prepare the seasoning mixture by combining all the seasoning and vegetable mixture ingredients with starch mixture in a large bowl, mixing well. Season to taste. It should be salty and semi-sweet since it’s going to season the whole cabbage. Gochugaru will stain; use a non-stainable bowl.
  7. Add the cabbage to the mixing bowl and gently toss the cabbage until each piece is coated with the seasoning mixture. Wear cooking gloves, otherwise the gochugaru will burn your hands.
  8. Add mixture to a jar, and add 2 Tbsp. water to mop up the remaining seasoning mixture. Add the wash to the jar and push all the cabbage down firmly. Close the lid tightly. Make sure to leave some head-space in the jar. It should not be filled more than 80% full. If the jar does not have ample headspace the kimchi may overflow the vessel as it ferments.
  9. Leave kimchi to ferment at room temperature for 1-4 days, or to your liking. Taste a little every day to check on its fermentation progress. Be sure to push kimchi back down firmly after tasting so that it stays submerged in its own juices.
  10. Refrigerate once it has reached the desired amount of fermentation. If you prefer fresh kimchi, skip fermenting step (#9 above) and refrigerate immediately.

Note:
Seasoning with fish sauce will add more depth of flavor. Sea salt will add a bright quality to the kimchi. Adjust the ratio between the two ‘salts’ to suit your taste.

Adapted from a recipe from Hungry Gopher at http://www.hungrygopher.com/simple-kimchi-cut-up-kimchi

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