Beginner's Kimchi : A Simple Step-by-Step Guide
Kimchi is a firm favourite of ours here at The Cultured Collective. Kimchi, (or kimchee as its sometimes known) is a staple traditional Korean side dish of fermented Chinese leaf cabbage in an aromatic spice paste. It's the perfect accompaniment to rice and noddle dishes and we also love it with eggs and avo on toast... in fact, we love kimchi with pretty much everything! We've paired back the ingredients and process a little here to make it beginner friendly. Give it a try...
3x Heaped TBSN Coarse Sea Salt
2x Chinese leaf cabbages
¼ small daikon/mooli radish (~100g)
1 medium sized carrot
1x bunch of spring onions
For the Spice Paste
10x garlic cloves (crushed)
1in piece ginger (roughly sliced)
½ medium Brown onion (roughly sliced)
3x TBSN fish sauce (optional)
5x TBSN gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes – available from good asian supermarkets)
You will need: large Kilner jar (or similar) for fermenting
Brine the cabbage
Slice your Chinese cabbage in half, remove and discard the core.
Dice the remaining leaves into bite-sized chunks.
Add a handful of cabbage to a large ceramic bowl, followed by a generous pinch of sea salt. Toss gently. Repeat the process until all the cabbage and salt have been used up.
Brine the cabbage for 2 hours in total, gently turning and re-mixing every 30 minutes. (handy hint: set a timer whilst you get on with other tasks!)
Prepare the remaining vegetables
Peel and julienne the carrots and daikon
Discard the root and soiled outer leaves of the spring onions and finely shred
Prepare your spice paste
Add all spice paste ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a large ceramic bowl.
Mix, pack & ferment
Once the cabbage has been salted for a full two hours, transfer to a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Allow the brined cabbage to drain completely, before transferring into the bowl containing your prepared spice paste
Add in the julienned carrots, radish and shredded spring onions
Mix thoroughly (hands is best!) ensuring that all vegetables are thoroughly mixed and have an even coating of spice paste. (handy hint: use gloves to avoid spicy hands!)
Take a handful of your vegetable mixture, place it into the base of the jar and pat down firmly, ensuring that all air bubbles are squeezed out. Repeat until all the mixture has been packed into the jar. Try your best to ensure that no vegetables are protruding out above the spice paste. Seal your jar firmly shut.
(handy hint: be sure to leave about 5cm head room; when your kimchi comes alive it will expand!)
Place the jar in a cool, dark part of your kitchen (ideally somewhere between 15-20 degrees is best). (handy hint: It’s a good idea to place the jar on a plate to catch any leakage should your kimchi attempt to escape as it ferments).
Taste test your kimchi – if its yet to develop the strength of acidity/sourness that you’re after, then leave it for another day before testing again. Once you’re happy, transfer it into the fridge and enjoy!