Spicy fermented cabbage doesn’t seem like a good idea, and the first time I tried it, I wondered how it had possibly gotten so popular in Korea. But after prolonged exposure during the time we lived there, I came to love it. I may not miss my life in Korea very much, but I really do miss the availability of kimchi with every meal.

My first attempt at making my own was pretty much horrible. Not enough salt, the wrong kind of chili powder, and a pretty major miscalculation when scaling the recipe left me with a bland jar full of mushy cabbage. No thanks.

This time I pulled from a bunch of different places, recalled what our downstairs neighbors always did on Sunday nights, and bought some gochugaru, which is ESSENTIAL (order it online if you can’t find it in the store). This batch is much better, and now I can have a nice big jar of kimchi in the fridge at all times!

1 very large head Napa cabbage or 2 medium-sized heads
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp sugar

Cut the cabbage vertically in quarters. Place in a large bowl.

Put the salt between each of the leaves, weight with a heavy pot, and let sit for about 4 hours.

Rinse the cabbage several times.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, water, gochugaru, ginger, garlic, and sugar so you have a paste. Spread a little of this between each of the leaves, then pack very tightly into a large, clean jar. Press down firmly, then add just enough water to cover (which shouldn’t be much if the cabbage is tightly packed), seal the jar, and leave on the counter to ferment for two to three days. (Less time if the room is warm, more time if the room is cool).

Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to age for at least a week. It should keep for about a month or two.


9 Responses to “Kimchi”

  1. 1 Coco Bean April 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I have always wanted to make kimchi but haven’t gotten around to it, yours looks great, I’ll have to try it very soon!

  2. 2 WizzyTheStick April 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Cte can I tell you this is one of those out of my reach items that I dream about. Really I do. You know how sometimes you can look at something and tell that you will like it. This is one of those things. You are so lucky to have access to such wonderful ingredients. Now excuse me while I go lick the screen and get caught up on your other posts:-)

  3. 3 sophia April 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Wow, great job! I’m Korean and have yet to make kimchi by myself.
    I think it’s missing a few ingredients, though…my mom always adds fish sauce and shrimp paste. But I guess this is the vegan version!

  4. 4 branny April 11, 2010 at 4:47 am

    When I was a kid, my dad and I would gorge ourselves on Kimchi and then be banished by the rest of our family. I’m forwarding this recipe to him!

  5. 5 tigerfish April 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I do like kimchi but always find them very salty. Will cutting down the salt make it less “kimchi”?

    • 6 Cate April 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      The large amount of salt used in the beginning should all be rinsed out…this doesn’t taste salty to me at all.

      I would think if you cut down the salt, the cabbage won’t take on the right texture.

  6. 7 Bbq Dude April 13, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Changing the amount of salt will also change what ferments in the kimchi. It acts as a preservative, preventing growth of the bacteria you don’t want, and promoting growth of the bacteria that you do want. Less salt, and you’ll end up with rotten cabbage instead of kimchi.

  7. 8 JamesAweSumSauce April 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Holy freaking moly! I love kimchi. I made mine and let it ferment for around 3 months..purely amazing. I can’t wait to try your recipe i love this stuff. I used to work at a sushi bar owned by koreans. So this stuff to me is like a 2nd nature.

  8. 9 Chikarakobu October 21, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I’ve been wanting to make kimchi for a long time but was intimidated by the quantity it makes. I’m definitely going to try this after I find a jar big enough!

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