I have wanted to make Kimchi at home for a long time, but never seemed to get around to it. If you didn’t know already, fermented cabbage is actually very good for you and it keeps for a long time. It contains plenty of vitamin C, is believe to help stop aging of the skin and can reduce your cholesterol levels. It is also rich in antibiotics and can help aid your digestion…unless of course the strong spices counteract those benefits for you.
Kimchi, much like goma-ae, is one of my favorite staples at Japanese restaurants. Yes, I realize that Kimchi is Korean, but many of the Japanese restaurants in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver are Korean-owned. Hence, we get the best of both worlds.
This Christmas, I’ve decided to embark on making my own kimchi…for me to eat and to also gift to a couple of friends who also share the love of this fermented vegetable with me. I am using adapting this recipe from All Recipes (changing a few things and doing half the recipe) and taking some tips from this one to make the end result.
Veggie Notes: If you want a vegetarian version of kimchi, you can omit the fish sauce. Also, if you don’t want to use sugar, puree half and apple or pear instead.
Instructions for Making Kimchi at Home
Chop up the cabbage into bit-sized chunks, about 1-2 inches. Place the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Stir to coat all the cabbage pieces evenly. Cover the bowl and leave it at room temperature for 4 hours.
Next, rinse the cabbage and squeeze out any excess liquid.
At this point, place the cabbage in a container that has an airtight lid. Add the fish sauce, green and white onions, garlic, sugar and ginger. Stir it well.
Now you’re ready to add the red pepper flakes. Authentic kimchi is made with Korean chile powder, but I’m using red pepper flakes. I crushed the red pepper flakes further until they were much finer in texture, but they don’t result in such a red kimchi that you might be used to. By the way, if you use Korean chile powder, you can up the amount to 2 1/2 tablespoons.
Either way, add your spicy ingredient and stir well. For even distribution, wear plastic gloves and rub the cabbage leaves by hand.
Place the airtight lid on your container and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Transfer to the fridge and for best results, wait another day or two before sampling.
Kimchi will last up to 1 month in your refrigerator.