Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kimchi - Love it or Hate it- it's good for you! and it's awesome!

Koreans love their kimchi.  I had the pleasure of sampling homemade kimchi- delicious- but just couldn't find a store bought one I really liked.  So, here is a version that does the trick.  Kimchi is easy to make, the most challenging part was finding Korean chili powder in Ottawa.  Found it!

Every Korean family has its own recipe so feel free to adjust your batch to suit your preferences.  Make it as hot and spicy as you like, add whatever vegetables entice you, enjoy!

This recipe makes approximately 4-5 litres of kimchi.


1 cup plus 1 tbsp      coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 heads                     Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges, then slice across, depending on size of cabbage
1 bulb                       garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece        ginger root
1/4 cup                     fish sauce or Korean salted shrimp
1                              Asian radish, peeled and grated
1 bunch                   green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup                    Korean chili powder
1 tsp                        sugar (optional)
Sesame oil (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

Cabbage soaking in salt water

  1. Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water. Soak cabbage in the salt water for 3 to 4 hours.

    Radish mixture
  1. Combine garlic, ginger, and fish sauce or shrimp in food processor or blender until finely minced.
  1. In large bowl, combine radish, green onions, garlic mixture, chili powder, 1 tablespoon salt and optional sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chili burn.)
  1. Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. In a large bowl, mix the radish mixture with the cabbage (use gloves to avoid chilis burns).  Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars or 1-gallon jar, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.
  1. Let sit for 2 to 3 days in a cool place before serving. Remove kimchi from jar and slice into 1-inch-length pieces. If serving before kimchi is fermented, sprinkle with a little bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Refrigerate after opening.

A more traditional method of preparing the kimchi:  Cut the cabbage into 2" wedges,  soak as outlined above.  After draining the cabbage,  stuff the radish mixture between leaves, working from outside in, starting with largest leaf to smallest. Do not overstuff, but make sure radish mixture adequately fills leaves. When entire cabbage is stuffed, take one of the larger leaves and wrap tightly around the rest of the cabbage. 

Kimchi will be good enough to eat straight for up to about 3 weeks. After about 4 weeks, once the kimchi gets too fermented to eat by itself, use it to make hot pots, flatcakes, dumplings, or just plain fried rice.

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