Thursday, November 19, 2009

Everyone Wants This Kimchi Recipe

sigh... so much Kimchi, so little stomach
They really do. This isn't just any old Kimchi recipe, no sir, this is an authentic Korean Kimchi recipe given to me by my dear friend, Ruby. And trust me, Ruby knows Kimchi. Me? I don't know a lot about this fermented deliciousness in a jar, but I do know that it tastes divine and all of the bubbly, spicy, garlicky goodness we gobble down is teeming with probiotics and enzymes. That's about all I need to convince me that it's worth the preparation time (which really isn't that bad, I promise).

Via Saveur:
The distinctive taste of kimchi is familiar to anyone who has tried Korean food: the crunchy and cool cabbage leaves or chunks of daikon; the chile paste that burns the tongue; the pungent aroma, redolent of garlic and ginger and touched with a hint of the sea. In Korea, that spicy, earthy-tasting dish of fermented vegetables is on the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and everything in between. I cannot think of a single food from any other country that is half as important to a nation's culinary traditions as kimchi is to Korea's. I have been to French restaurants where there has been no bread basket; I have been to Chinese restaurants where you have to ask for rice; I have eaten Italian dinners that didn't include pasta. But it would be unheard of to sit down to a meal in a Korean home or restaurant and not be served kimchi.

Ruby's Kimchi via Ruby's Grandma via Ruby's Grandma's Grandma.. and so it goes..

  • 2-3lbs Chinese (Nappa) cabbage, chopped up (roughly 2"x2")
  • 1/2 cup Sea Salt (make sure it's non-iodized)
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced (I grate mine because I'm lazy that way)
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (if you don't mind cane sugar/palm sugar, you can use it)
  • 1 tsp good quality fish sauce (read the ingredients, stick with anchovies/salt if you can get it)
  • 1/4 Cup Korean crushed red pepper (it must be Korean red pepper)
  • unlimited amounts of love (it was written on the original recipe, so I have to include it or Ruby will beat me up).
  • Wash and drain cabbage.
  • Layer cabbage with salt in a large glass/clay container. Place a glass plate on top of cabbage and weigh it down (I use glass jars filled with water). Leave overnight.
  • The next day, rinse cabbage well and drain out excess water.
  • Taste to judge saltiness. You may need to drain more if it's too salty or add more salt if it's not salty enough.
  • Mix all of the remaining ingredients together in the glass/clay pot you used earlier. Use a wooden spoon or gloved hands (the spices are pretty potent).
  • Pack tightly in a clean glass jar, pounding down with a tamper to get the juices flowing.
  • Cover loosely and place a plate underneath jars to catch any juice that overflows.
  • After a day, I tighten up the lid, place the jars in a cupboard or a wooden fermenting bench I have. Leave the jars for 3 days and check. Depending on the temperature and how 'sour' you like your Kimchi, you may leave it longer.. a week, or even a month.
We usually leave the Kimchi out for about 5 days, but in the summer it takes less. Store your Kimchi in the fridge when it's done fermenting.

Saveur magazine has an awesome Kimchi article in their November issue that highlights other types of Kimchi commonly eaten in Korea. Alternativley, I will be the happy guinea pig and try some of them out. I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. how long will this last in the fridge once it is fermented?

  2. It will last for a few months, at least. I make giant batches of fermented vegetables and keep them in the bottom of my fridge for up to 4 or 5 months and they're fine.