It all started many moons ago with a craving for Kimchi Fried Rice that I couldn’t get my hands on from my favorite local Korean restaurant. The following day I made a beeline to the Asian market, picked up the ingredients and made my own Kimchi. It was so good I called it Killa Kimchi and have ever since! The great thing about making your Kimchi at home is that you can adjust the flavor and heat to your liking! This recipe is easy to make and will have any Kimchi fan smiling from ear to ear!
1 medium head (2 pounds) Napa cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt (use salt that is free of iodine and anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation)
1 tablespoon grated garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce or water (I use fish sauce)
1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (Gochugaru)
8 ounces Korean radish or Daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.
- Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.
- Rinse the cabbage under cold water several times and drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.
- Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the Gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 4 tablespoons).
- Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.
- Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. Gloves are optional but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!
- Pack the Kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of head space. Seal the jar with the lid.
- Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
- Check the Kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the Kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two.