Kimchi loves to be a part of all your Korean meals and you love it to be a part of yours which means you’ll need to have a goodly amount on hand. Especially if you have lots of people joining you at said meals (or even if it’s just you––I don’t judge because I feel you).
The trouble, then, is that to purchase goodly amounts of kimchi at your local grocery, you will need a goodly amount of pesos, euros, drachmas…you get my point. Or what if you don’t even have a store nearby that carries kimchi? Then it’s best to just make it yourself.
Yes, that’s what I said, “Just make it yourself.” And you can do it because you’ll adjust this recipe to your taste, time constraints, finances and pantry.
Start by looking in your cupboards and fridge and then get the stuff that’s not there.
For the spicy hot marinade:
- vinegar (apple cider, white wine, white)
- salt (kosher or sea)
- bottled or canned anchovies (5 or more filets mashed) /fermented fish sauce (salted fermented shrimp would be prime, but no sweat it if you don’t have it)
- sesame oil
- honey or sugar
- hot pepper paste (I like to use paste rather than red pepper powder so I make my own quick faux version, but if you’d rather use powder, go ahead)
- fresh ginger juice (a lot if you’re a fan or a little if you’re not)
- garlic (crushed with crusher or minced with a knife)
- sesame seeds (optional, but nice sprinkled on the kimchi right before jarring)
The kimchi vehicle:
- napa, a 2-3 lb specimen
- a bunch of scallions, chopped
Actually, the cabbage is your call, you could go for bok choy even if that’s what you have in the fridge or it called out to you in the market. Also, if you want an ultra quick kimchi, go ahead and rub this on chopped romaine lettuce and eat it the same day.
The fermenting receptacle:
I recommend using glass jars. You can use jars you’ve already washed out and dried, at least 1 1/2 liter or approximately 6 cups capacity for smallish cabbages. I invested in a Bormioli Rocco Fido Glass Canning Jar and glad I did (actually I spent less than 10 bucks so it turned out being a good investment at a good value).
1. Wash and then quarter the cabbage, keeping the wedge intact. Put the quarters in a colander and sprinkle with salt making sure to get the salt in between leaves. At this point the cabbage would sit for 4-8 hours depending on the size of your cabbage and then you’d rinse out and drain your cabbage. I will confess that sometimes I will let the cabbage sit for 20 minutes because I have a rare disorder where I can’t wait for cabbage to sit for 8 hours, but try it both ways and see what works for you.
- 3 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 teaspoon honey/sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoon red pepper paste (if you are a pepper junkie and lone consumer of this kimchi, then use what you think is best)
- 5 mashed anchovies
- 7-10 garlic clove, pressed through a press
3. PLEASE PUT ON RUBBER GLOVES FIRST. Rub the sauce into the cabbage. It’s important to get the rub in between each leaf, so go ahead and lift up each leaf and massage. It’s an intimate process, but since you’re on a first name basis with your cabbage, it’s okay. After you’ve finished with the rub down, go ahead and sprinkle the chopped scallion over the cabbage.
5. Go ahead and let it hang out in a dark, cool place for about five days or more before sticking it in your fridge. It will continue to ferment but this way you can keep it fresh for as long as possible. Feel free to eat as soon as you’d like if fresh is your speed or wait a bit longer if you like it real ripe.