Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Cook time: 3 hours  |  Total time: 5 days  |  Yields: 1 1/2 quarts

I usually always have a jar of Kimchi stocked up in my fridge in case I don't have time to make a big dinner and just need some veggies on rice with a fried egg or a piece of Chinese sausage. For some the pungent smell can be over powering. I love it and could eat Kimchi all day long. If you don't know what Kimchi is, it's a Korean dish of fermented / pickled spicy vegetables. It's a very ingenious way to preserve vegetables for during the wintertime. This recipe was taught to me by my friend Sora back when I lived in San Francisco back in the 2000s. It's an amazing recipe in its simplicity and strong flavours. I've tweaked her original recipe alittle bit by adding fish sauce and alittle of bit of sugar. If you're vegetarian, I would suggest omitting the salted shrimp paste and instead just add the half of the fish sauce and try to forget what you included.

P.S. Due its pungent smell, I wouldn't recommend bringing this into the office for lunch unless your office is at last 60% Asian. Likewise, don't ever even think about microwaving tuna in the office lest you want to asphyxiate your co-workers.

What you'll need and how much:

— 1 head of napa cabbage
— 1/2 cup of kosher salt
— About 10 cups of cold water
— 8 cloves of garlic minced
— 1/4 cup of minced ginger
— 4 spring onions (scallions) cut into 1 inch long slices
— 2 tablespoon of fish sauce
— 1 teaspoon of Korean salted shrimp
— 1 tablespoon of sugar
— 1 tablespoon of salt
— 5 tablespoons of Korean red pepper powder (Gochugaru)
 

See and read

Or skip to abridged version

Cut the cabbage lengthwise by 2 inch increments. Discard the end root. Place it in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over the cabbage and toss with your hands. Add the cold water and let it sit at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours. This brining process kills the bacteria.

 

Drain the water from the cabbage and give it a light rinse. Taste one piece of cabbage. It should be lightly salted, but not overly salty. If it's too salty rinse one more time. If all of the salt has been rinsed out, add 1 additional tablespoon of salt. 

 

Mince the garlic, ginger, and slice the spring onions. Combine these ingredients with the Korean red pepper, salted shrimp, fish sauce and sugar and douse it over the cabbage. Mix thoroughly with your hands.

 

Pack the cabbage into a jar tightly. You might have to really use your fist to cram the ingredients into the jar. 

Cover the jar and leave outside at room temperature for 2 days. After 2 days, open the cover to release the gases. You'll see bubbles as the fermenting process is underway. Cover the jar and put it in the refrigerator. The Kimchi will be ready to consume after 3 days in the fridge, however, it's always best to wait longer for 7 days. If you can't wait tuck in!

Abridged Recipe

Ingredients:

— 1 head of napa cabbage
— 1/2 cup of kosher salt
— About 10 cups of cold water
— 8 cloves of garlic minced
— 1/4 cup of minced ginger
— 4 spring onions (scallions) cut into 1 inch long slices
— 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
— 1 teaspoon of Korean salted shrimp
— 1 tablespoon of sugar
— 1 tablespoon of salt
— 5 tablespoons of Korean red pepper powder (Gochugaru)

Recipe:

  1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise in 2 inch increments. Discard the end root. Place it in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over the cabbage and toss with your hands. Add the cold water and let it sit at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours. 
  2. Drain the water from the cabbage and give it a light rinse. Taste one piece of cabbage. It should be lightly salted, but not overly salty. If it's too salty rinse one more time. If all of the salt has been rinsed out, add 1 additional tablespoon of salt. 
  3. Mince the garlic, ginger, and slice the spring onions. Combine these ingredients with the Korean red pepper, salted shrimp, fish sauce and sugar and douse it over the cabbage. Mix thoroughly with your hands.
  4. Pack the cabbage into a jar tightly.
  5. Cover the jar and leave outside at room temperature for 2 days. After 2 days, open the cover to release the gases. You'll see bubbles as the fermenting process is underway. Cover the jar and put it in the refrigerator. The Kimchi will be ready to consume after 3 days in the fridge, however, it's always best to wait longer for 7 days. If you can't wait tuck in!  

Photo Credits: Jenny Smart

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