Making Kimchi

Recently, I have been inspired to start making my own fermented vegetables.  While working for Real Cooking a few years back, I learned how to make sauerkraut.  I was surprised how easy it was and wanted to learn more.  For my birthday, my friends bought me Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.  I browsed the book at the time, but am finally getting around to reading it.

I thought I would start with something simple.  I have been craving kimchi recently but have not purchased it because all the jars sold near my house contain MSG.  Guess I’ll have to make it myself:)  Sandor has a recipe that was surprising simple to follow.

Here’s what I did:

Roughly chopped a whole head of napa cabbage

Thinly sliced a whole daikon

Thinly sliced 6 carrots

Added them to a large pot of salty water(brine).  Let them sit, covered for a day.

After a day, removed the veg from the brine. Tasted to test saltiness.  If it’s too salty, rinse.   Then, pureed together:

1 good size chunk of ginger

6 garlic cloves

a bunch of green onion

1/4 cup red chili flakes

and a few squirts of fish sauce

Added this paste to the drained veggies and incorporated fully.

Packed into sterilized mason jars and pressed down until the juices came to the top.  Tried to keep all veg under the brine.  Covered with plastic ziploc, pressed down, and placed a smaller jar inside.  Filled the smaller jar to weigh down the veg.  Like so:

Let sit for a week, checking on them occasionally to change the water and pack the veg down a little more.  At the end of the week, lid them and put in fridge.

Here’s what it looks like after a week.  Quite a kick for how much spice I added.  Nice and flavorful, but I think next time I’ll let it ferment another day or so.  Would like a little more tang.  Otherwise, delicious!  I could have eaten this whole bowl, but it’s meant as a condiment, not a main dish.

Give it a try yourself.  Inexpensive, flavorful, full of nutrients, and contains enzymes and cultures that help with digestion. Yum! Now I’m inspired to make a Korean meal.

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Categories: nutrition

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4 Comments on “Making Kimchi”

  1. Angela
    January 28, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    After living in South Korea for two years, I came to LOVE Kimchi. The Koreans eat it with rice for breakfast, and as a side dish with every meal. It is their main staple (along with rice). I understand why! It’s SOOO yummy. I am SO impressed that you made it yourself. You know, don’t you, that the Koreans store it in big clay pots outside to ferment, and it was my understanding that they leave it to ferment for weeks and weeks. They also make a dish that is exactly like kimchi but with a vegetable similiar to cucumber. It’s really good too. I wish I lived near you so I could try your Kimchi!

  2. Angela
    January 28, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    Oh, and it looks really pretty. Good job!

    • melissadavisfood
      January 28, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

      Thanks:) You should try it yourself. It was super easy.

  3. Nonna
    January 29, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    You guys turned me onto BiBimBop and now I’m making it at home. I love the medicinal mushrooms in it. Now, I’m inspired to make this. Andy says last time he had it was in Germany and “It was funky and nasty” I think he will try it- and hopefully like it. After dabbling in Macrobiotics I know the importance of fermented vegetables. Thanks Melissa!

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