I started making Kimchi at home last year when I realized that a gallon of Kimchi costs nearly $20. I can make the same amount of Kimchi at home for $2 and it tastes just as good, if not better. On top of that, Kimchi is actually really easy to make, it just takes time. Spend one day every 6 weeks making Kimchi, and you will always have it in your fridge. How can you argue with that kind of logic?
This recipe originally comes from Momofuku by David Change and Peter Meehan. I love this cookbook by the way, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in asian cooking. Their ramen recipe is superb! Anyways, back to business. I’ve modified their recipe a bit, dropping the sugar and using a different type of red pepper, but for the most part, this is the same recipe.
1 medium head Napa Cabbage, outer and discolored leaves discarded
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 large grated apple, preferably Fuji or another sweet apple
20 garlic cloves, minced
20 slices of ginger, minced
1/2 cup Korean red pepper – I use coarse ground, but you can also use powder or fine ground.
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp jarred salted shrimp
1/2 cup 1-in pieces scallion, both white and green parts
1/2 cup julienned carrots
I realize this list of ingredients is a bit daunting, but I swear this recipe is really easy! I’m going to split this post into two days, for Day 1, you only need the cabbage and the salt.
Cut your cabbage in half lengthwise. Then, cut it in half lengthwise a second time, so that you have four pieces.
Next, cut the cabbage into 2-in wide pieces cross-wise. Put this in a bowl and mix with 2 tbsp of salt.
Place in a jar and refrigerate overnight.
Start by gathering your maize-en-place. Prepare all of your scallions, carrots, garlic, and ginger, placing them into a very large bowl together. Add the red pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and shrimp. Mix thoroughly. Finally, grate and mix in the apple. I do this last because the apple will oxidize very quickly.
Your mixture should resemble a dark reddish-brown sludge. It’s thick, but not quite a paste.
Drain your cabbage, then add it to the red pepper mixture. Mix thoroughly, rubbing the sauce into the cabbage.
Package into a jar, preferably something that it just barely fits into. You really want to be able to pack the cabbage together in order to keep it in the brine. Overtime, this will wilt and shrink. Place in the fridge. This can be eaten immediately, but is best after 2 weeks. You can ferment your cabbage on the counter, but it will attract flies. I find the fridge works fine. The cabbage will last 8+ weeks, but it starts to go downhill around the 5/6 week range. 2-4 weeks it the most delicious. Yummm!