Before making our kimchi, read a little bit about customising your ingredients, and on timing and storing here.
- 2 whole Chinese cabbages
- 250 g salt
- 1 large daikon/white radish – approximately 950 g-1 kg (julienned into matchsticks or grated)
- 1 bunch chives – approximately 30g (finely sliced)
- 1 bunch shallots (ends cut off and sliced to your preference – finely or longer)
- 16 cloves of garlic (approximately)
- 80 g fresh ginger
- 200 g onion
- 70 g salted baby shrimp (optional)
- 120g or 1-2 cups of gochujaru red pepper powder depending on your chilli preference (or replace with a mixture with these varieties: chipotle chilli, finely crushed red chilli flakes and mild chilli powder. Add less than 120g or 1-2 cups)
- 4 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp heaped coconut sugar
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ cup fish sauce (add more depending to your preference)
Rice flour paste:
- 3 tbsp glutinous rice flour
- 500ml water
- To prepare the cabbage for salting all you need to do is remove the very first few outer leaves of the cabbage, slice the cabbage in half lengthways then trim the hard stem to flatten. Make a slice in the centre of the stem (see photo). Later you will natural tear this cabbage again in half.
- Rinse the cabbage halves very well under water so they slightly soften, shake of any water. Have a very large bowl ready (or 2 if you need), salt each cabbage by sprinkling the salt into each leaf (leaf by leaf, lift it up and sprinkle with salt). You want to try and get the salt to reach the centre parts so that the water comes out. Place into the bowl for a total of 2 hours, however every 30 minutes make sure to turn over and cover the cabbage with the residual salty water.
- Once the cabbage has soaked for 2 hours in the salt, drain it and wash the cabbage thoroughly from all the salt, as much as possible. Dry roughly with paper towels and then tear the halved cabbages into half again so you make quarters. Set aside.
- To make the kimchi paste start by making the rice flour paste. Bring a pot with the water to boil, reduce to a simmer and add the rice flour. Use a whisk to mix through well and remove and clumps. Once the mixture is gelatinous and has thickened just remove it from the stove top and let it cool completely.
- Place the garlic, ginger and onion into a food processor and blend well. Transfer into a large bowl. If using the shrimp finely chop it along with the juices and transfer into the bowl with the other ingredients. Add the rest of the paste ingredients and mix through well. Taste and adjust the seasonings – add more of any of the paste ingredients if you prefer. Just note you do not need to add any salt whatsoever as there is plenty of salt from the other ingredients. Once the rice flour water mixture has cooled add it to the rest of the paste ingredients. Add the daikon, chives and shallots then mix through thoroughly. Taste one last time and adjust any seasonings.
- Coat the cabbage with the kimchi paste by placing each quarter onto a wooden board and use a spoon or your hands (wear gloves if your hands are sensitive to chilli). Start with the outside leaf first from the centre to the edge, coat each leaf with the paste, then fold the cabbage in half. Do this by folding the cabbage inwards like a book. Set aside on a tray or begin to place directly into your chosen jar/container. I recommend to set aside first so that you can adjust any quantities of the paste at a later stage. Note – depending on the size of the cabbage quarters you may need to cut these quarters again in half if they are really large, it will be easier to handle.
- Store in sterilised jars/containers and leave enough space between the lid and the cabbage kimchi (approx 3-4cm). Press down the cabbage so that the juices rise to the top and cover the cabbage. Set the jars aside in room temperature for 1 day (in summer) 3 days (in winter). Open the jars several times during the days to allow the gases to leave (this is very important), or leave your lid slightly unsealed, then place into the fridge. The kimchi is ready to eat at this stage however will continue fermenting - see full details here for storage and fermentation.
- Remove the cabbage kimchi and sliced into small pieces. You can also serve the kimchi straight away – it will taste amazing however it won’t be fermented yet. It’s common to start eating the kimchi on day one and just tasting it every day to see how it progresses.
*Warning: You will need to allow the kimchi to breathe to avoid an explosion. Do this by opening then resealing the jars/containers a few times a day whilst it is fermenting (before the fridge).
Prep time: 3 hours (2 hours for soaking the cabbage, 1 hour for making the kimchi)
Makes: 4 large jars
Recipe by Anastasia Zolotarev.