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Baechu (Napa cabbage) kimchi is one of the staple foods in Korea. Spicy
and tangy, it is typically served as a side dish, with rice, but is also
found in various Korean soups and stews.
This basic version has just the fundamentals; once you're comfortable
with this version, you might try adding shredded carrots, Daikon radish,
pickled baby shrimp, or any number of other things. Search around online
for variations to try!
This particular recipe is a modified version of the recipe posted by Dr.
Ben Kim, at
Preparation time:
active: 30 minutes
soak: 4 hours
sit: 24 hours
1.5 pints
1 lb. Napa cabbage ("bae-chu"), or roughly 1/4 of an average head.
2 tbl. salt
2 tbl. red pepper powder ("kochu-garu"), preferably coarse
1 tbl. minced garlic (~2 cloves)
1 tbl. minced ginger
3 green onions (chopped coarsely)
1/2 tbl. anchovy sauce (korean-style, NOT thai!)
1/2 yellow onion (small)
1 tbl. honey (or granulated sugar works in a pinch)
Phase 1:
Chop the cabbage into bite-size pieces. (I like them cut cross-wise,
so each piece is about an inch or two wide and up to 4 inches long;
when cut like this, it is easy to wrap a piece of kimchi around a bite
of rice, using chop-sticks.)
Put the chopped cabbage in a large bowl.
Add the sea salt to 2 cups of warm water, stirring until it is dissolved,
and then pour the salt water over the cabbage. Toss the leaves gently to
distribute the salt water.
Cover the mixture and let it sit for at least FOUR HOURS.
Phase 2:
Thoroughly rinse the cabbage to remove excess salt, and return it to the
Combine the red-pepper powder with 2 tbl water to create a thick paste.
Be careful not to get it on your hands; the red-peppers are very spicy
and can burn your hands. Add the paste to the cabbage.
Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, green onions, honey, and anchovy
Cut up the onion however you like; cutting it coarse works well, and is
easy, but you may like it better diced. Knock yourself out. Then add the
onion to the cabbage.
Toss everything thoroughly, again being careful not to get the
red-pepper mixture on your skin. Stir until everything is well mixed.
Phase 3:
Transfer this "pre-kimchi mass" to a quart jar (or two pint jars),
pressing down firmly as it stacks up.
Transfer any remaining liquid to the jar(s) as well; this will help
form the kimchi brine.
Leave about an inch or two of space at the top of the jar to allow the
mixture to expand during fermentation.
Let the jar(s) sit out at room temperature for 24 hours, after which it
is ready to eat, or refrigerate. (Note that if you like your kimchi
more sour, you might want to leave it out for another day or two, or
more; myself, I don't like it very sour.)
It will supposedly keep for up to a month in your fridge, but mine
is always long-gone within a week!
"Red-pepper powder" (called "kochu-garu" in Korean) is actually the same
as most Cayenne pepper, although "Cayenne pepper" is a name that can be
given to any of several different hot peppers. If possible, look in an
asian store for "red-pepper powder"; that way it'll be most authentic.
You can omit the anchovy sauce, but note that it won't ferment as
successfully without it. You might try substituting soy sauce, but that
will certainly change the flavor somewhat.
Be sure you use Korean-style anchovy sauce, and NOT Thai fish sauce. The
two are not the same, and using Thai fish sauce can (so I've heard)
result in the kimchi spoiling (going rotten) before it ferments. If you
don't live near an Asian market that carries Korean ingredients, you can
order almost anything you need (including anchovy sauce) from at very reasonable prices.
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