Years ago I was staying in London with a friend and tried Korean Barbecue for the first time. There I tried the delights of kimchi which I had never even heard of before. Since, I’ve broadened my culinary horizons and had lots of different versions of kimchi and I just love the stuff!
Recently I was recommending to a friend they try some as fermented foods are reportedly really good for digestion. You can’t really purchase it as readily as other pickled vegetables and it’s best freshly made so I decided I would make some myself. It is honestly super easy and since making it the first time I’ve tested out lots of different variations, spice levels and alternative ingredients.
If you fancy making your own kimchi I highly suggest following a simple basic recipe to start and then experiment with your ingredients to find what you like and please your tastebuds.
So here it is:
LAUREN’S EASY KIMCHI RECIPE
Prep Time: 20 MINS plus 1 hr salting and overnight fermenting
No cooking time
You will need 1-2 air tight jars
Will serve about 15 side portions
- 1-4 tbsp chilli paste /red pepper flakes (according to spice preference- I would go with 2 or 3) (Ideally use SRIRACHA CHILLI SAUCE, a tangy red chilli pepper sauce you can find online or in Asian supermarkets/online.)
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves crushed or grated
- Chunk of ginger about 1 inch grated
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 8 radishes grated
- 2 carrots cut in think sticks or grated
- 4 spring onions cut finely
- 1 cabbage (preferably chinese, but normal red or white cabbage will work too)
- Slice the cabbage: Remove the core and cut into quarters then again into 2-inch-wide strips.
- Salt the cabbage: Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.
- Rinse and drain the cabbage: Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.
- Make the paste: Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons).
- Combine the vegetables and paste: Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.
- Mix thoroughly: Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!
- Pack the kimchi into the jar: Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid.
- Let it ferment: Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
- Check it daily and refrigerate when ready: Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two