This year I was able to use my own Napa cabbage to make kimchi. The radishes in my garden don’t get big enough, so I am thankful for an international market not too far away. Both Korean and Daikon radishes looked good, so I used a combinations of both.
There were so many Napa and Savoy cabbages that I was able to share with friends. I used the ones above for the kimchi, cutting out some of the centers of the leaves to use for stir fry.
After coarsely chopping the cabbage (some recipes cut wedges) you toss it with 1 teaspoon salt. Most use more salt, but I try to cut down on the salt. One jar I bought had 880 mgs per serving. That made me decide to make my own with the recipe and lots of help from my daughter-in-law. I wanted my kimchi to be juicy because I like to make Kimchi Marys, so I added a little water before I pressed it. After adding three plates that fit into the bowl, I put the basket of heavy squash on as weights.
The next morning it had pressed down to this. Drain the liquid into a bowl.
Both my daughter-in-law and I think a food processer is a necessary tool for making kimchi.
I had kale and red scallions in the garden, so I added them along with the radishes and carrots grated with my food processor. The kale was chopped, the scallions sliced down to the green parts, then the greens cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces. Add these other vegetables to the cabbage and mix well.
I used a head of garlic, four small onions, and an inch of peeled ginger. After processing then add 1/2 to 1 cup gochugaru (Korean Red Pepper Powder) and 1/4 to 1/2 cup fish sauce. Again, I use less because of the salt content. Of course the gochugaru is very hot, so that’s a matter of taste too, but it is a necessary ingredient. After processing you should have a thick puree. Add the cabbage juice to the processer to thin out the sauce, then add back to the cabbage mixture. Mix very thoroughly.
Stuff into sterilized jars. Make sure the kimchi is submerged in the liquid. and leave more headspace than I did.
Once the bubbles started I lost some of the precious liquid!
Seeing the bubbles are one of the most exciting things about making kimchi.
Now it can be refrigerated, or left out to ripen to taste. It will keep fermenting in the refrigerator, but very slowly.
One of my favorite ways to use kimchi is Kimchi Fried Rice.