2 Napa cabbages
1 Asian radish, peeled and grated
1 cup kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup Korean chili powder (or ground Thai chili)
5 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
5 cups filtered water (you can also use spring bottled water, or dried kelp broth)
Kimchi is one of those side dishes that some people have to acquire a taste for. Once you’ve allowed it into your diet, it’s easy to fall in love with a little bit of kimchi with your meal. Because of the increased popularity of fermented foods, Americans are introducing this unique Korean-style cabbage into their diet. But Koreans have been eating kimchi daily for many years. Kimchi has as many different methods of processing as it does uses in Korean cooking. Try it in our Kimchi Fried Rice recipe.
Preparing the cabbage
Rinse the cabbage.
Cutting lengthwise, carefully slice from the base to about 4 inches up the cabbage head. Using your thumbs, pull the halves apart. Repeat this process with the second head.
Trim off the ends and cut cabbage into 2-inch squares.
In a large bowl, dissolve salt into water. Place the cabbage in salt water and allow it to soak for 3 – 4 hours.
Peel and cut the radish into matchstick pieces.
Peel and mince or press the garlic.
Chop the scallions.
Remove the cabbage from soaking and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Drain the cabbage, squeezing out any excess water. Add the cabbage to the bowl with your radish mixture.
Using your fingers, rub the mixture into the cabbage leaves until they are completely coated. (Wear gloves to protect your hands.)
Pack the coated cabbage into an air-tight container or 1 gallon glass jar. Press the cabbage down while packing to remove any air bubbles.
Seal the container and allow it to sit in a cool place for 1 – 5 days (depending on how patient you are and how ripe you like your kimchi). Check the jar daily to make sure your cabbage is still immersed in its briny juices. Press down to re-immerse when needed.
Taste your kimchi and when it reaches your desired level of ripeness, refrigerate it for storage. Your kimchi will keep for up to a month in an airtight container in the refrigerator.