How to make kimchi

Many kimchi recipes call for things like fish sauce, daikon radish or chili paste – all ingredients that can be hard to come by. This recipe for kimchi is simple and can be made with ingredients found easily, maybe even in your own garden. To make kimchi with gochugaru, check out the Homemade Kimchi Kit!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large heads of Napa cabbage, sliced thin large heads of Napa cabbage, sliced thin large heads of Napa cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 large bunches of green onions, sliced thin large bunches of green onions, sliced thin large bunches of green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 head of garlic, minced head of garlic, minced head of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (to taste) grated fresh ginger (to taste) grated fresh ginger (to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes or ¼ lb fresh chilies minced (to taste) red pepper flakes or ¼ lb fresh chilies minced (to taste) red pepper flakes or ¼ lb fresh chilies minced (to taste)
  • 3-4 Tbsp. sea salt sea salt sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a very large bowl. Massage salt into vegetables and let sit 5-10 minutes to give the salt an opportunity to draw out the juices.
  2. Pound with a Cabbage Crusher or pounding tool until enough juices are released to cover the mixture completely.
  3. Stuff the mixture into a clean jar, pressing underneath the liquid. If necessary, add a bit of water to completely cover.
  4. Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
  5. Culture at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure.
  6. Once the kimchi is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to cold storage. The kimchi's flavor will continue to develop as it ages.
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Ready to Learn More?

How to Make Kimchi

I wasn’t kidding when I wrote that it’s really easy to make kimchi. You chop your vegetable matter into manageable pieces and salt it. It sits and loses a good bit of liquid. You drain off that liquid, add some flavorings (garlic, ginger, hot chili powder, or whatever), and pack it into a jar. The you let it ferment for some days or weeks (depending on the temperature and how sour you want it to get). Done. That’s how to make kimchi.

Now what goes into that kimchi? Well the possibilities are pretty much endless. Without even leaving the domain of traditional Korean kimchi, there are over 200 kinds to choose from. Here’s a list (check it out–it’s awesome). Deviate from the traditional and sky’s the limit.

As long as you stick with the salting and draining method, you can get creative with the vegetables and spices. I have a batch of brutally hot habanero Korean radish kimchi fermenting right now. Habanero? Why not? I like it hot.

You like caraway seeds? Eggplant? Oysters? You can make kimchi with it. I’m not kidding here. The key is to experiment with ingredients you like until you get it dialed.

Bowl of bok choy kimchiHow to Make Kimchi the Way You Like It

  • 12 Baby Bok Choy Cabbages
  • 1 Cup Daikon Radish cubes, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 Cups Shredded Carrot
  • 12 Green Onions, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ Cup Coarse Sea Salt
  • ¾ Cup Dried Korean Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tart Apple (e.g., Granny Smith), cored
  • 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  1. Cut each bok choy cabbage into halfs or quarters, depending on size. Not the best rule of thumb, granted. Use your best judgment.
  2. Add the bok choy, radish, carrot, and green onion in to a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Let it soak for 30-45 minutes, tossing every ten minutes or so.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the chili powder, ginger, garlic, apple, and fish sauce in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Drain and reserve the liquid that accumulates in the salted vegetables.
  5. Mix in the chili paste mixture.
  6. Pack the mixture into two quart jars, pressing down firmly to remove as much airspace as possible, Liquid should come to the top of the mixture. If not, add some of the reserved liquid.
  7. Place a fermentation airlock on top of each quart jar and allow to ferment for one week to a month, depending on how hot the ambient temperature is and how sour you want your kimchi.
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