Kimchi – a traditional Korean side dish of salted and fermented vegetables – spicy, tangy and full of flavor, this fermented mix is a favorite! It’s super easy to make and a natural probiotic too!
- 1 medium Napa cabbage (savoy or any green cabbage will work too)
- 20g of sea salt
- 1.5litres of water
- 1 whole apple (green)
- Half an onion
- 1 ½ inch chunk ginger (peeled and chopped)
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic
- 3 teaspoons of chilli powder and 1 cayenne pepper – adjust this according to your taste and tolerance of spice
- 3 – 4 spring onions
Preparing the Cabbage:
- Quarter the cabbage and chop it laterally into about 2-inch pieces.
- Place the cabbage in an extra-large bowl or pot.
- Combine salt with 2 cups of lukewarm water, stir to dissolve the salt.
- Pour salt water over the cabbage and add remaining 4 cups, stir to mix.
- If you can, place a plate or circular baking dish of sorts on top to submerge the cabbage (I used a pie dish), place something with a good amount of weight on top to hold down if necessary (it’s not completely necessary but will help to evenly wilt the cabbage).
- Give the cabbage a good mix every now and then.
- Let soak for 2 hours, up to 12 if you like. I found that 2 – 4 hours was enough and didn’t see much change between the two times.
Make your seasonings:
- While the cabbage is soaking, combine the apple, onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor/blender and process until fairly smooth.
- In a small bowl, mix the chilli pepper with a small amount of water to make a wet paste. You can just as easily blend it with the apple/onion mixture adding a couple of tablespoons of water as well.
- Mix everything together: Once the cabbage is ready, drain water, reserving ½ cup, and rinse well.
- Place the cabbage back in a large bowl, combine with the scallions, apple/onion mixture and chilli paste.
- Mix well to coat all pieces. Either use your hands (with gloves on preferably, to protect your hands from the chilli pepper) or simply use wooden spoons to toss everything.
- Place the kimchi in glass jars or containers with lids, pack down the best you can to close air pockets and leave about an inch at the top for air and gases. Top with remaining juices, add reserved brine if needed to cover vegetables.
- Let kimchi sit at room temperature (or in a cool place like a pantry or closet if weather is extremely warm) for 24 – 36 hours.
- After 24 hours, open kimchi and pack the mixture down with a spoon (the cabbage will have likely shrunk and you’ll have more liquids).
- You may notice it bubbling, this is perfectly normal as the kimchi is fermenting.
- As your kimchi ferments, the flavours will develop. Taste it every 24 hours and place the kimchi in the refrigerator once you’re happy with the taste, for it to slowly ferment.
- Usually, after 36 – 48 hours, it should be tangy, spicy and slightly sweet.
- After moving to the fridge, it’s best used within a month, two tops.
- Makes about 3 – 4 cups.
- Practice makes perfect with kimchi. You may find you like it more or less spicy. After a few tries, you’ll find the perfect mix to suit your taste. Also, how fermented you like your kimchi will take practice as well. The weather will also play a role in how fast/slow your mixture will ferment. Higher temperatures will progress fermentation, while cooler will slow it down.
- If you’re in a pinch without an apple in sight, use 2 teaspoons of organic pure cane sugar, coconut sugar or sugar in the raw, just the purest sugar you can find. You may like to add a bit of water to the mix as well, about 2 – 3 tablespoons.
- You can also enjoy kimchi fresh right after you mix it and store it straight in the fridge. You may like to experiment by putting half the recipe in the fridge and the other half in the pantry to ferment & sour to see which flavour is your favorite.
- Optional ingredients for colour and variation: carrots and/or daikon radish (grated or julienned), about a ½ cup of each. If using these, add to cabbage when mixing scallions and wet mixtures together.
- If using savoy or green cabbage, quarter cabbage, remove the core and roughly slice.