Check out my simple recipe for delicious Korean fermented cabbage.
As a Polish guy, I was raised on sauerkraut and sour pickled cucumbers, as an adult, I fell in love with Kimchi and now it plays an important part in my daily diet.
Fermentation is a magical process that transforms food giving it a more complex flavour, improved nutritional value and significantly benefits your gut microbiome.
Personally, I am fascinated with the procedure and to create this recipe I worked with a few different batches and ingredients, here are a few insights that I came up with that may work for you while preparing your own Kimchi:
You don't need loads of exotic ingredients to prepare Kimchi.
You could ferment the Nappa cabbage only by using Gochujang paste and salt, use Gochugaru chilli powder instead of the paste, or you can also skip the rice porridge part altogether. The ingredients that I use in the recipe give great results, even without radish or shrimp paste. Once you learn the process, play with different ratios and ingredients yourself, have fun!
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Preparation time: 2-4 hours
Fermentation time: 3 days
Ingredients, First Part:
2 Nappa Cabbages medium size (Chinese Leaf)
4tsp of salt (around 20g)
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small sticks
2 spring onions, washed and sliced
Ingredients, Second Part:
8 garlic cloves, minced
2tsp of minced ginger
1 medium onion, minced or fine dice
1/2tbsp of glutinous rice flour
1/2tbsp of sugar
100ml of water
Begin by preparing Nappa cabbages, cut in half and remove leaves from the core, place them in a big bowl or plastic container and gently mix with the salt. Leave for 2-4 hours mixing with your clean hands occasionally (salt draws moisture out of the leaves creating space for the flavour and makes them softer).
In the meantime prepare rice porridge, in a small pot mix 1/2tbsp of rice flour with 100ml of water and bring to simmer, cook for 5-8 minutes whisking occasionally to prevent lumps. Once it thickens add 1/2tbsp of sugar, mix and remove from the stove.
Transfer porridge to the bowl and mix with minced garlic, ginger, onion and Gochujang paste, give it a taste, add more paste for more spice to your preference.
You can add carrot sticks and chopped green onions to the chilli paste mix and leave it like that until cabbage is ready for another step.
Once the cabbage is softened, gently mix it with the chilli paste and veg and place in the clean 3L jar with rubber seal (slightly bigger jar makes it easier to maintain as cabbage expands during fermentation, you can also use two smaller jars instead)
Once the jar is filled, place a small piece of plastic film on the top of the cabbage to create a protective layer, close the jar and leave it in the dark spot/room temperature for 24 hours.
On the following day open the jar and press the cling film layer with a clean hand and close the jar (this helps to keep all the cabbage under liquid and releases some of the CO2 builds up) Repeat this step after another 24 hours.
After 72 hours (3 days) press your kimchi one more time and remove the cling film. Kimchi is ready to eat at this point, keep it in the fridge from now on, the flavour will develop with time making it even better!
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