Here’s my recipe for cut-up kimchi
- 1 medium Napa cabbage (4-5 inch/10-13cm diameter of head)
- Coarse sea salt for brine
- STARCH MIXTURE:
- 1 cup water
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour or sweet rice flour
- SEASONING MIXTURE:
- 2½ Tbsp. minced garlic
- 2½ Tbsp. minced ginger
- ¼ medium onion, minced
- 5 tsp. sugar
- 4 tsp. fish sauce (Skip fish sauce if vegan recipe is required)
- 1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
*use extra 2 tsp. coarse sea salt if fish sauce is not used
- ½ cup gochugaru (Korean chili pepper flakes)
*adjust gochugaru to attain your preferred spice level
- Discard the loose outer leaves and quarter the cabbage lengthwise. Cut the core off. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2 inch pieces.
- Place the cabbage as a thin layer in a sink or large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt, about 1Tbsp. salt for each layer, in a standard size sink. Repeat these steps until the cabbage is all placed in the sink (This comes about 4-6 layers in a standard size sink)
*Use the salt sparingly. A slow brining process will help the cabbage to stay crunchy. Too much salt will make the cabbage tough and too salty. Too little salt will leave the cabbage with too much water in it.
- Set aside the cabbage at room temperature to brine. Turn leaves every 30 minutes so they will brine evenly. Periodically, check to make sure they are not getting over-brined.
~ At 70F/21C the brining process will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
- Once they are brined, submerge the cabbage in cold water. Then, rinse them thoroughly to drain the excess water. Set aside.
*Brining time varies depending on the temperature, kind/amount of salt, and the size of the cabbage.
**To check the optimal brining level of the cabbage, you should use the “Bend Test”:
Select 3-4 thicker leaves from across the cabbage to test. Bend them into a ‘U’ shape one at a time. When they are easily bendable, but there is a small amount of resistance left (so they’ll snap if you fold it all the way into a ‘V’), this is what you are looking for. You should also be able to fold a full quarter cabbage almost in half without snapping any leaves.
- The majority of the cabbage leaves should remain fairly opaque and only exhibit some translucency at the edges and in the thinnest areas.
- In the meantime, make the starch mixture. Combine the flour and water in a small pot, mixing it together well. Once it starts bubbling around the edges of the pot, begin stirring regularly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it for another 2-3 minutes until its consistency resembles that of pudding. Set aside to cool.
*If sweet rice flour is used, cook it for just one minute once it comes to a boil.
- Next, prepare the seasoning mixture by combining all the ingredients from the seasoning mixture and starch mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients well. Season to taste.
*It should be extra salty and semi-sweet since it’s going to season the whole cabbage.
**Gochugaru will stain; use a non-stainable bowl.
- Add the cabbage to the bowl and gently toss the cabbage until each piece is coated with the seasoning mixture.
*Wear cooking gloves ~ otherwise; the gochugaru will burn your hands for hours.
- Add them to a jar, and add 2 Tbsp. water to mop up the remaining seasoning mixture. Add the wash to the jar and push all the cabbage down firmly. Finally, close the lid tightly.
*Make sure to leave some head-space in the jar. It should not be filled more than 90% full. If the jar does not have ample headspace the kimchi may overflow the vessel as it ferments.
- Leave the kimchi to ferment at room temperature for 1-4 days OR to your liking. Then, refrigerate once it has reached the desired amount of fermentation. If you prefer fresh kimchi then skip this counter aging period and refrigerate immediately.
*I usually leave it at room temperature for 1-2 days in the summer or 3-4 days in the winter because I like my kimchi a little tangy. If you leave it at room temperature, taste a little every day to check on its fermentation progress. Be sure to push it down firmly after tasting so that your kimchi stays submerged as possible in its own juices.
*When I make a large amount of kimchi (5-6 heads of cabbage) I refrigerate half of it immediately. The other half, I leave at room temperature for quicker fermentation. By the time I have consumed the kimchi I left on the counter; the other half in the fridge will have reached a prime level of fermentation.
- Serve and enjoy^^
DO AHEAD: The brined cabbage and seasoning mixture can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days if you prefer not to do everything within one day’s time.Seasoning with fish sauce will definitely add more depth of flavor. Sea salt will add a bright quality to the kimchi. Adjust the ratio between the two ‘salts’ to suit your taste.
Watch this instructional video and I’ll help guide you through the process. You won’t have to make the same mistakes I did when I started out. I have received many comments and emails from my viewers, excited about their successes their first time out.
I look forward to hearing your ‘Kimchi Success Stories’, soon. ^___^