Easy Kimchi

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First ever kimchi

I’m not a big fan of kimchi. In fact, I hated it until about a year ago when I got to taste the kimchi rice one of our Korean bosses cooked for the office.

I have memories of my dad making basins full of kimchi at home, and the “leaking gas” smell associated with it. I’ve seen him salt the lettuce, spread the kimchi paste, and place the finished product in jars, but I’ve never once bothered trying to learn how to do it until I ate kimchi rice and found that I liked it.

And so I went on the internet to find the easiest way of making kimchi. It wasn’t difficult finding a recipe I could work with – kimchi is such an easy dish to make and you can use almost any kind of ingredient that you like that the hard part is choosing what kind to make!

But first, what exactly is kimchi? It’s most commonly Chinese or napa cabbage (and some other vegetables like carrots, green onions, leeks and radish) that has been seasoned and pickled and can be eaten as a side dish in Korean cuisine or cooked with other ingredients to make new dishes. Other varieties of kimchi can be made using cucumber, radishes, and other vegetables.

I found and adapted a mak kimchi or easy kimchi recipe for my needs and ingredient availability. For this, I used Chinese cabbage.

Easy Kimchi

2 medium-sized heads of cabbage
Garlic, minced
Onion, minced
Ginger, minced
Green onions, chopped in 1″ slices
Carrots, julienned in 1″ slices
Radish, julienned in 1″ slices
Sugar
Salt
Fish sauce
Korean chili powder

Preparing the cabbage:

Wash and drain the cabbages under running water. Chop it lengthwise into quarters and remove the core. Chop into bite-sized pieces of about 1-2″ long.

Soak the chopped cabbages in cold water and transfer to a large basin. Sprinkle salt generously over the cabbage pieces until all are covered with salt. Turn the cabbages to spread the salt evenly every 30 minutes. Total salting time should be around 1 1/2 hours.

After 1 1/2 hours, rinse the cabbages in cold water three times to clean it. Drain and set aside.

Preparing the kimchi paste:

Mix all of the remaining ingredients together. Adjust according to taste.

Mix!

Mix the kimchi paste and cabbages in a large basin by hand. If you’re sensitive about your hand burning, use gloves. I didn’t, and my hands burned for about two hours. Make sure that all cabbage pieces have been coated with the paste.

Once all the cabbage pieces have been coated with paste, transfer the newly-mixed kimchi to an air-tight plastic container or glass jar. I chose to put my kimchi in glass jars for easier storage in the refrigerator.

You can choose to eat the kimchi immediately or wait a few hours or days until it has fermented. We choose to wait, because we like it a little sour.

So far, I have used my kimchi in two other recipes: kimchi bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice) and kimchi chigae (kimchi stew). Both came out great. 😀 I’ll post those next time we make them, because I don’t think we took photos last time.

This recipe has been adapted from Maangchi’s Easy Kimchi recipe.

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