Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Kimchi, Ya'll!

I've fallen in love with kimchi. Kimchi is Korean and is a fermented dish usually made of napa cabbage, radish, green onions...and sometimes cukes. This is a new dish to me, but certainly not to the world. Kimchi has been enjoyed for thousands of years. And I know why! It's tasty, yo! My friend Kristen is also in love with kimchi and she invited over last Sunday for breakfast (pancakes - nom, nom!) and kimchi-making lessons. This is really timely since we'll be pulling fall cabbages shortly.

This recipe draws from David Lebovitz take on kimchi. What I immediately like about this dish is that there is room for your creativity. You can add and remove elements at the chef's choice. This can be vegan, or not. It can be super hot and funky (this is a fermented dish) or more on the tame side. Once you get the basics, it really is yours to play with.

Either way it all starts in one place...with cabbage (love!) about 24 hours before you jar.

This is about 2 lbs of Napa cabbage, halved.
You need to cut the cabbage into 2-inch pieces.
Put the pieces in a non-metal strainer.

Move the strainers to the sink. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt.

You'll need to weight the cabbage down.
This is to drain the water from the cabbage.
Keep it this way for about 24 hours.

It's gonna shrink! Check it out!

Now it's time to get the rest of your fixins together. We went for a bunch of green onions (plucked right from the garden). Kristen had a bunch of radish and carrots, so those went in as well. Thinly slice the carrots and cut the green onions into two-inch pieces. Toss them in a bowl with the cabbage.

Next, you get your sauce together, items listed below. Kristen went for the real deal and found Korean chili paste. Now, you could substitute the chili paste with sriracha, but you may not find the same color and consistency. If you do go for the Korean chili paste. Here's a peek at what the packaging looks like.

For the sauce, you'll need 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of Korean chili paste, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger, and 2 tablespoons of chili powder. You could add fish sauce here if you'd like.

Mix it up.

Toss it with the veg,
then mix until the veg is completely coated with the sauce.

Pack the jars *to the top* and close tightly with a lid,
preferably with a plastic lid in a Ball mason jar.

The key here is to have the jars packed, really packed. You'll keep the jars out for a day or two at room temp. before putting the jars into the fridge. I recommend placing the jars in a plastic bag in case you have some liquid spill out. The longer they stay out, the funkier they get. That could be what you are looking for, but you may want to be conservative on your first round. If you want a little less of a bite...keep at room temp for a day, then refrigerate for several days more. After this, it is just time to eat up. Have it on rice, noodles, or in a quesadilla! Enjoy!


  1. YES! Please tell me you have some of this still.

  2. Ohh! Where did she find that amazing chili paste?

  3. This looks awesome! Why do you need to use non-metal strainers?

  4. @ Erin....she picked it up at a Korean market in midlo....Tan A didn't carry it....I'll ask the name.

    @ Cat... I don't fully understand it, but apparently the metal can mess up the fermentation process.