Easy Homemade Kimchi
We've asked UK blogger Andrea from Forking Foodie to share her recipe (and knowledge!) about making your own kimchi. Don't know what kimchi is? Read on...
"Kimchi is a spicy-sour, extremely tasty cabbage or radish dish. It is often eaten as a side dish, and also used as an ingredient in various Korean dishes. Enjoy cold as a side to grilled or barbecued meats, or cooked into Korean dishes. You've literally got a ready-meal in a pot full of goodness without any of the nasties you may find in a bottled Asian sauce or paste - all the flavours are there already: garlic, ginger, chilli, onion, spring onion.... throw them into a wok as a stirfry, or into a soup, or oriental soup with no effort or time once it's made - it's amazing!
And, the best thing about kimchi, besides the taste? It is supposed to be incredibly good for you. It's high in dietary fibre, a single serving provides over 50% of your recommended daily Vitamin C and carotene, it's rich in several important vitamins and minerals and it contains lactic acid bacteria (hence the lacto-fermentation). No wonder Health magazine named it one of their top 5 healthiest foods in the world!"- Andrea
No: Gluten / Dairy / Egg / Nuts
Total Preparation Time 2 hours + days for fermentation
Cannot be frozen - can be kept in the fridge for months
- Regarding the Korean red pepper powder/flakes (gochugaru). I've been asked if you can substitute these. I know some people have experimented with using a combination of paprika and cayenne pepper, and similar combinations, but you're treading a fine line on making something that is so spicy it's inedible, or unpleasantly gritty from the ground spices if you're not careful. The Korean red pepper powder/flakes are from from deseeded Korean chillies that have been dried then coarsely ground, which seem to soften in the sauce, whereas if you add a lot of ground paprika or chilli powder to something, you run the risk of it being gritty, like a bad chilli con carne. They're hot, with a hint of sweetness to them. I wouldn't like to recommend a substitution because of this, and hopefully it's the only ingredient not available in most supermarkets, but definitely worth sourcing if you want a go at making Kimchi - and you could certainly use it in lots of other dishes that you want to spice up. around 5,000 to 10,000 on the Scoville scale, if that means anything to you! I've found it's rather delicious as an alternative to chopped fresh chillies, or chilli powder in a number of things!
- If you live in an area with chlorinated tap water, you may wish to make the rice porridge using spring, distilled, bottled or filtered water, and also use it for at least the last rinse of the cabbage, as chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation. Alternatively you can leave the tap water out overnight before using.
- Chinese cabbage - 1.7kg, or whole napa / Wombok cabbage
- sea salt - 80g, fine
- carrot - 50g (1 small to medium sized)
- radish - 100g, or daikon / mooli / Japanese white (about half of one)
- leek - 80g (1 small leek or 4 baby leeks)
- rice flour - 20g
- sugar - 15g (tested with golden caster sugar)
- fish sauce - 70g (Thai is fine, also known as nam pla - some people have asked whether there is a vegetarian substitute: you could substitute light soy sauce if OK with gluten, or use tamari sauce for gluten free, or mix kombu powder with water for a taste of the sea)
- garlic cloves - 6 large
- ginger - 1 inch, sliced into coins
- onion - 40g (1/2 a medium sized)
- chilli powder - 75g, Korean red pepper powder / flakes (gochugaru), see ingredient notes
- spring onions - 3, or scallions
- Cut and salt the cabbage first. Peel off any outer leaves from the cabbage, as necessary, cut into quarters lengthways, then remove the central core (you can pretty much achieve this by chopping off the bottom, as it doesn't really extend up into the cabbage much).
- Take two quarters at a time, slice again down the middle lengthways once or twice, then cut into slices / chunks about 1.5 inches wide.
- Rinse thoroughly, then drain, but leave water clinging to the leaves (the cabbage must be wet for the salting process to work properly).
- Put into a large non-reactive bowl (not metal) and sprinkle with the salt and mix thoroughly.
- Set aside for one and a half hours, giving it a thorough stir every 30 minutes (being a bit forgetful, I find it helpful to set a 30 minute timer to remind me to do this!)
- Add the carrot (50g), radish (100g), leek (80g) and spring onions (3) to the bowl. Speed 4 / 4 seconds, scrape down then Speed 4 / 2 seconds.
- Set aside and rinse out your bowl.
- Add cold water (180g) and rice flour (20g) to the bowl - try to avoid tipping it onto the blades, and slowly turn the dial up to avoid throwing the rice flour up the sides. Speed 3 / 15 seconds.
- Scrape down if necessary
- Program 2:30 minutes / 110C* / Speed 2.
- Add sugar (15g) and cook for 2:30 minutes / 110C* / Speed 2.
- Leave to cool.
- Add the garlic (6 cloves), ginger coins and quartered onion half to the cooled porridge with fish sauce (70g).
- Blitz Speed 7 / 30 seconds, scrape down sides.
- Add the red pepper flakes (75g) and blitz again on Speed 4 / 15 seconds.
- Once your cabbage has finished salting for an hour and a half, you need to rinse it thoroughly, and drain three times (it's best to do this by filling up the bowl with water, and stirring it all around with your hand, then draining). Make sure you drain it thoroughly the third time, but don't wring it out.
- Tip your chopped vegetables and kimchi sauce onto your drained cabbage and then give everything a really good mix together, ensuring that the sauce and vegetables are evenly and thoroughly distributed throughout the cabbage. This is where you need to put some plastic gloves on to protect your hands from the chilli, to give it a really good thorough mix!
- And you're done! All you need to do now is to put the majority of it into some clean containers which are not airtight (don't fill them up too much, you want a few inches of space otherwise once it starts fermenting in the fridge in a week or two some of the liquid may escape), push the cabbage down so it's covered by the sauce as far as possible and store in the fridge, reserving a small amount to put into a container to keep out of the fridge at room temperature, and that's your kimchi made.
*If your machine does not go above 100C, set to Steaming Temperature which is usually between 110-115C. Please refer to your user manual for correct information for the appropriate setting for your machine.
- Kimchi should ferment in the fridge anyway, it just takes a while longer (a week or two), so putting some aside at room temperature gives you the first batch ready to eat a bit quicker. Once it's fermented to your taste, you can put it back into the fridge again to slow down the fermentation process.
- If your house is quite warm, the kimchi outside of the fridge may well have started to ferment after two days - if you can see any little bubbles, and it's a bit gassy, has more liquids on the top or smells a bit different (sour) it's fermenting. If you have a taste, and the rawness from the garlic and onion has mellowed, and the cabbage has a saurkraut-y taste then your kimchi is good to go. If you taste it against the kimchi in the fridge, you will notice that the fridge version still has the strong taste of raw garlic and onions, and the two are quite different. The cabbage may even have a slightly fizzy taste to it, which is also fine, although this is more likely with airtight containers. If you're happy with the flavour of it, you can put it back into the fridge now that the cabbage is fermented. In a cooler house, it could take up to a week. Your kimchi will also ferment in the fridge in time, but every time you want another batch, it's good to take some out of the fridge to ferment at room temperature for a day or two, and keep transferring from the large container in the fridge, to your smaller container at room temperature. Whenever you take some kimchi, remember to push the cabbage back down in the remainder, so that it is submerged in the liquid, and kept properly, it should keep for months and months.