Tuesday, April 5, 2011


As I was perusing my Facebook stream I noted a link posted by chow.com for a basic Napa cabbage kimchi recipe. I am fascinated and a little scared by fermentation. Anything that I ferment I am always sure will result in my death due to some nasty bacteria reproducing out of control.

I once made a few batches of apple cider that although clearly infected did not kill us and actually had a pleasant tang.


1 head napa cabbage
1/2 cup kosher salt
8 ounces daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
4 medium scallions, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup crushed red pepper
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried shrimp, ground
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Cut the cabbage into 2-inch pieces, discarding the root end. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and toss with your hands until the cabbage is coated.

Add enough cold water to just cover, making sure the cabbage is submerged (it's OK if a few leaves break the surface).  Cover with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let sit at room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. At this point it actually has that signature kimchi smell and the leaves have that "squeaky" feeling.

Place a colander in the sink, drain the cabbage, and rinse with cold water. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add the cabbage and toss with your hands until evenly combined and the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the mixture.

Pack the mixture tightly into 2 clean 1 quart glass jars with tightfitting lids and seal.  Let sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours (the mixture may bubble). Open the jars to let the gases escape, then reseal and refrigerate at least 48 hours before eating (kimchi is best after fermenting about 1 week). Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Ours will be ready to try tomorrow morning. I am very excited if this works. Kimchi is expensive and Napa cabbage is usually cheap. Plus kimchi is a fun family project if your 5 year old likes to cook.


p.s. It came out great! Totally convincing. It is definitely going to be added to the stable of regulars.

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