Our Korean student has been having some difficulties adjusting to Canadian food. He’s mastered the phrase “I don’t like this” and balks when broccoli and cauliflower are served for dinner. Who can blame him! He’s used to eating rice and Asian veggies three times a day. Each week I try to include one meal that has ingredients that are familiar to him. I’ve never seen a child so excited to eat rice and homemade kimchi.
Kimchi is fermented cabbage that’s spicy and fishy. It’s a staple in many Korean homes.There are many different Kimchi recipes out there. I used somewhere between five and ten recipes to develop the recipe below. This kimchi is mildly spicy and slightly sweet. I’m happy with the way it turned out, but I’ve never tasted kimchi before. My Korean student claims that it’s “very good”. Hopefully he’s right!
2 head nappa cabbage
1 daikon (Asian) radish
1 1/4 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
2 cups water
2 bulbs garlic
1 (2 inch) piece of ginger
2 cup Korean chili powder (add more for more spiciness)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 bunch of green onions
saucepan and spoon
5} When the cabbage is ready, rinse it several times under cool water and place in a clean bowl. Also, rinse the radish and set aside.
6} Prepare the stuffing ingredients. Separate and peel the garlic, peel and cut the ginger into a couple of pieces. Place them in a food processor and mince finely (or mince by hand). Chop the bunch of green onions into 1/2-1 inch lengths.
7} In a saucepan, dissolve 4 tablespoons of sweet rice flour in 2 cups of water. Heat gently on medium low, stir until the mixture thickens and becomes a paste. Add the Korean chili power, sugar, fish sauce, minced ginger and garlic, chopped green onions and Asian (daikon) radish. Stir and take off heat.
8} Put on rubber gloves. Take a piece of cabbage and smear the stuffing between the leaves working from the outer leaves to the inner leaves. Smear each leaf well. When done, squeeze the leaves together to make a bundle and place into a clean quart (or larger) jar.
9} Pack the jars and press down to release air bubbles, make sure to leave 2 inches of headspace. The cabbage should be covered in liquid. If extra liquid is needed, add a bit of water to the sauce pan, scrape up the leftover spices and pour into the jars.
10} Let the kimchi mature at room temperature for 1-3 days and then place it in the fridge. I’ve read that it will be good for 1-2 months, perhaps longer, but I can’t say for sure.
If you’ve made kimchi before and have any feedback I’d be happy to hear it.