Kimchi is a Korean version of sauerkraut, full of flavor and immune-boosting properties. Kimchi typically contains red pepper and napa cabbage, but many variations exist. I love this adaptation featuring daikon radish and fish sauce.
How to Make Kimchi
This recipe is adapted from my go-to fermentation book, Real Food Fermentation. Feel free to modify to suit your preferences. Garlic is a healthy addition, but I prefer it without. Fish sauce is optional but helps with the fermentation process. (I buy Red Boat Fish Sauce.)
- 1/3 cup sea salt
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 pounds vegetables (cabbage, napa cabbage, bok choy, daikon radish, red cabbage)
- 1/2 head garlic
- 1/4 inch ginger root
- 1 large onion
- 1/4 cup red pepper flakes or powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar (this will be fermented and will not remain in the final product)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- 2-3 scallions
- In a mixing bowl, dissolve the salt in filtered water.
- Cut/slice/chop the cabbage, daikon radish, bok choy, and/or red cabbage.
- Place the cut vegetables into the brine and mix with clean hands.
- Cover the bowl and leave overnight or a minimum of six hours.
- Drain the vegetables thoroughly. Taste them. They should be fairly salty. You can always rinse if you think they are too salty.
- Peel the onions, garlic, and ginger.
- Blend all three in a food processor with a bit of filtered water, to allow them to mix. You can chop them finely or use a mortar and pestle (the ancient way).
- Add the red pepper, fish sauce, and sugar to create a paste. Add water if needed.
- Cut the scallions diagonally and blend into the paste.
- Move the drained vegetables to a mixing bowl and add paste. Blend thoroughly with a spoon. Taste the vegetables. Add more salt if needed.
- Pack the vegetables into a fermenting jar, leaving one inch of head room. I use a silicone waterless fermentation airlock from Pickle Pipe. You can also use a Fido jar or mason jar with tightly capped lid. (Be sure to burp the mason jar daily.)
- Leave the jar on a pantry shelf for several days. Wait until you like the taste. Store in refrigerator.