We love the idea of how much our culinary palette has expanded thanks to the flow of ideas technology has allowed. While this might feel like a trend for most people, kimchi is a dish that has been handed down in Korean kitchens for thousands of years. Born out of a necessity to store nutritious foods during cold winter months, kimchi was often stored in clay pots in the ground for weeks to ferment. It’s safe to say our recipe requires a little less commitment.
This is a fantastic recipe to try if you are looking to dip your toes in the fermenting pool for the first time. It might seem there are more specific instructions in this recipe that require a little more attention as far as preparation, but don’t let that scare you away. The great thing about this recipe is that the ingredients are all relatively inexpensive, so if you aren’t satisfied with how your kimchi turns out at first, try it again! And don’t be afraid to get creative with ingredients veggie-wise! The estimated different types of kimchi are anywhere between 100 to 300 (both in and outside of Korea) so there is absolutely room for you to go a little mad scientist in your kitchen! Fermented foods have been valued for centuries as probiotics that ensure great gut health, and noted beauty queens from Cleopatra to Queen Elizabeth attributed eating fermented foods to an important part of their cosmetic rituals.
For his recipe Jeff opted for Napa Valley cabbage (which is cool-looking and distinctive nestled in between conventional heads of cabbage), carrots, and radishes. While Daikon radishes are much more traditional to kimchi recipes, being geographically disadvantaged in Central Pennsylvania Jeff was able to make due with farmer’s radishes. Just like our Crunchy Pickles recipe, a seemingly small prescription of using Spring water over household tap is actually very important as it makes a big difference in how the fermentation occurs. And don’t forget the Korean Chili Flakes! You can opt to use a little less if the heat scares you, but they’re definitely a huge part in adding a distinctive pow in the kimchi. The taste testers loved the vibrancy and sharpness that the fresh ginger gave. As the kimchi ferments (aided by the sugars of the Demerara Sugar), it’s important to check to make sure the liquid and gases have room to escape so you might have to “burp” it after a couple of days. Once the kimchi is fermented to your taste, switch it from your counter to your refrigerator to slow/halt the fermentation process.
Kimchi is great as a snack and makes a delicious garnish. Kimchi is often eaten with fried eggs and rice, or try using it in place of pickles on your favorite sandwich for a healthy probiotic boost.
- In a large bowl, mix cabbage with salt and let sit for an hour. Weigh down with something heavy, like a heavy pot, another bowl, etc. This will draw the water out of the cabbage.
- Rinse cabbage well, let drain in a colander. Pat dry.
- Combine cabbage with rest of ingredients and mix well.
- Tightly pack ingredients into a quart jar with lid. Make sure contents are covered in their own juice. Place lid on but don’t tighten. Place on a plate in case contents bubble over from fermentation. Allow to sit for 2-5 days to ferment.
- Each day of fermentation, remove lid to release gases and make sure contents are under liquid. After 2-5 fermentation, place in refrigerator.