also gimchi, kimchee, or kim chee

a traditional condiment in Korea. thanks to the heritage of my mother-in-law, i was introduced to this wonderfully healthy food many years ago and with some perserverance and practice, i've come to perfect my own recipe which tastes 'almost as good as mom's' according to my adoring husband (and children).

most of this is done by taste and site, but i've attempted to put measurements on everything to help you get started. if you're just not sure how it should taste, drop by the Asian market and pick up a small jar and try it. most often these are already sour, but good. we like ours fresh through sour and thus enjoy making our own.

you'll need:

*large bowl with sealable lid
*1 gallon GLASS jar
(fermented foods should never be stored in plastic or metal containers.)

*3 small to medium heads nappa (baechu/Chinese) cabbage (5 lbs)
*5-10 chopped scallions
*sea salt (table or pickling may be substituted)

*1/2 cup of Korean red pepper flakes (kochu karu)
--may substitute the cheap ground red pepper from the Walmart.
i've known some to substitute cayenne, but it's a different flavor and it's much hotter, so the amounts would be significantly less.

*3 tablespoons minced garlic
*½ - 1 tablespoon sugar

*1 tablespoon kimchi sauce (also called fish sauce/nuoc mam) optional

*½ tablespoon
*minced ginger root (very strong flavor – i leave this out)

*surgical type gloves to protect hands from hot pepper (spoon may be used)

~cut cabbage into 1-2 inch squares.
(this is preference, many cut in strips or leave heads intact and merely slice them lengthwise like a banana peel.)

~spread a layer in large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt.
~continue layers of cabbage and salt until all cabbage is in bowl.
~put lid on bowl and let cure for about until cabbage is limp and will not snap when you try to break it in two (about 2-3 hours).
inse 3-4 times thoroughly and drain DO NOT SQUEEZE.
~taste and if too salty, rinse and drain again.
~salt again to taste (if needed).
~add all other ingredients and mix with gloved hand.

NOTE: add hot pepper a little at a time until desired hot. i've practiced with this and we like 1/2 cup but you might like a little less. if you don't add enough, when the cabbage sours, "sour" is all you will taste.

~put in smallest jar possible and cover.
~refrigerate and serve.

NOTE: flavor is best after at least 24 hours to allow flavors to mix. refrigeration is not necessary for preservation if veggies were cured correctly (if it molds, revisit your curing/salting methods); however, leaving it out at temps above that of your fridge will speed up fermentation and thus will make it sour much more quickly. we prefer to eat it fresh and at all stages of fermentation until it just gets too sour to stand the smell. at this point, we grind it up and throw it in the mondu (recipe to be posted later) or we cook it with some chicken.

1 remarks: on "kimchi"

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I'd saved a link to a video (that I think you gave me!) but it doesn't work any more. I LOVE kimchi, but have yet to make my own. Your directions seem quite do-able. I just may make some tonight!!!

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