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Traditional Korean Kimchi

Traditional Korean Kimchi

Traditional Korean Kimchi

Ingredients:
1 large Napa cabbage (3.5lbs)
1 carrot— julienne
1/2 daikon— julienne
Salt for sprinkle on cabbage, carrot and daikon
6 green onions— chopped
Small bundle (3-finger bundle portion) Chinese chives— chopped

Glutinous Rice Paste:
2 tbsps glutinous rice flour
4 tbsps water

Chili Paste Marinade:
1 bulb fresh garlic
1 inch ginger
1/2 Asian pear— peeled and cored
2 tbsps sugar
3 tbsps fish sauce
1 cup Korean ground chili (coarsely ground, NOT powder form)

Method:

  1. Prepare Napa cabbage: Remove outer leaves. Cut the bottom (stem area) ONLY then use hands to pull leaves apart. Make 4-6 wedges. Rinse, then sprinkle a thin layer of salt on each leaf. Place cabbage in a bucket with heavy weight on top to weight them down. Turning over every 30 or 60 mins, until the cabbage becomes very soft and wilted, and covered mostly in drawn liquid. It takes 6-8 hours. Meanwhile prepare other stuff.
  2. Prepare Carrots and Daikon: Combine carrots and daikon in a bowl. Sprinkle a thin layer of salt and use fingers to massage several times. Let it sit to draw out liquid, about 30 minutes. Rinse 2 times then squeeze/pat dry.
  3. Prepare glutinous rice paste: Combine glutinous rice flour and water in a small bowl, microwave 10-15 seconds, stir to a “glue paste”. Cool completely.
  4. Prepare Chili Paste Marinade: Add garlic, ginger, pear, sugar, fish sauce sugar in food processor, grind until fine. Add glutinous rice paste then mix well. Add in carrots, daikon, Chinese chives, green onion. Massage to mix well. Set aside.
  5. After cabbage has drawn out most liquid, rinse them off 3 times. Squeeze out extra water but not too dry. With core leaves face up, hand rub chili paste onto each leaf. Starting from outer leaf at the bottom, then work your way up to core leaf on the top. Wear gloves if needed and rub more on stem section. Fold in half and tuck inside a glass/ceramic container. Repeat with remaining cabbage. Make sure to press down tightly so no air is trapped underneath in order for proper fermentation. Cover, ferment at a cool place (room temperature) for 1- 1.5 day (longer on cooler weather) then move to fridge to continue fermentation at low temperature. Kimchi is ready in 5-7 days. Cut kimchi into pieces when served.

Regina’s Note:

  • Korean salted baby shrimps in brine is also typically used in making traditional Korean kimchi. SinceI hardly use it for other cooking purpose, I just skipped this ingredient . If you use salted shrimps, add in 1 tbsp together with ground chili, before glutinous rice paste).
  • If you have extra chili paste leftover, you can also use it to marinate cucumbers, which doesn’t require fermentation. The refreshing taste of cucumbers and the spicy chili paste flavor match very well.
  • I like to use glass or porcelain container for fermenting kimchi. Be sure to use a container with a tight seal lid (or plastic wrap container before covering with lid). Kimchi is delicious, but you don’t want your fridge to smell like kimchi.
  • You can eat kimchi immediately after marinating, but since it has not fermented yet so you’ll taste the freshness of raw cabbage taste instead of the tangy flavor. Even after you keep kimchi in the refrigerator, the fermentation will still continue (at a slower speed). The longer fermentation time the sour it is. Very old kimchi are too sour and usually used in cooking (kimchi fried rice, kimchi tofu soup etc.).
  • For kimchi making tutorial, I like to visit YouTube: Maangchi Traditional Kimchi, but her recipe portion is HUGE.

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Before I forget, I better write down the kimchi recipe. I learned this kimchi from my neighbor Aunty Wang. The main difference from the normal kimchi is that this recipe uses green cabbage, the American type shaped like a ball and not the Taiwan cabbage which is flatter. The result is a much crunchier texture. As long as the cabbage (and other veggies like cucumber or daikon, if used)  is air dried long enough before marinating, the kimchi will remain crunchy for a couple of weeks.

Cabbage Kimchi

Cabbage Kimchi

Cabbage Kimchi Recipe

Ingredients:
1 small green cabbage (about 2 lbs)
1 small daikon
1 carrot
2-3 stalks green onion

Marinating sauce :
1-2 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
3-5 tbsp fish sauce
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Methods:

  1. Take out the core of cabbage and tear the leafs into big pieces, cut a slit at the thick stem if necessary for the sauce to penetrate through. Pour in good amount of salt and toss around. Set aside.
  2. Peel off the skin of daikon and cut into 2 inch strips. Pour in good amount of salt and toss around. Set aside.
  3. When the cabbage and daikon has soften and liquid drains out, rinse them under water a couple of times. Lay them evenly on a big tray and air dry for few hours– the longer the better because the kimchi will remain crunchy longer.
  4. While the cabbage and daikon are drying, peel and julienne carrot. Cut green onions into 1 inch long. Set aside.
  5. In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. I like mine a bit garlicky and spicier but adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.
  6. Mix all veggies in a big container/bowl with the sauce. Use your hand to toss around to coat evenly. The sauce will look dry but over the marinating process a little more liquid will come out.  Transfer the marinated kimchi to a air tight container (glassware preferred), pat the veggies down tightly. Use plastic wrap before closing the lid to prevent the smell get to the lid. Let it sit on cool spot at room temperature for 1 1/2 days (no more than 2 days).
  7. Transfer kimchi to clean glass jars, pack tightly. Wrap the jar opening with plastic wrap before closing the lid so the smell won’t penetrate to the lid as much. Keep refrigerated. Kimchi is ready when chilled. Best to consume within 2-3 weeks. When taking kimchi out of the jar, always be sure the utensil is dry and clean.

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