How to Make Easy Kimchi
Kimchi is a Korean fermented vegetable dish that is now made and eaten all over the world. You will find many “original “ and “ authentic” recipes available but they are all different and I think this is because each family had their own way of making it. My advice is to not get too hung up on authenticity. The secret to good Kimchi is making it to your taste. The spicy sauce is the key to kimchi and if you can’t find the special ingredients and spices to make it this can put you off. This is a recipe using ingredients found in most supermarkets to make the sauce and it still tastes amazing!
A head of Chinese lettuce/cabbage , this is sometimes called Napa and can be found in most supermarkets. It is also easy to grow.
3 garlic cloves crushed or grated .
1 inch of ginger finely grated.
1 tbsp of fish sauce, (this is optional)
1 tbsp runny honey
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce
2 carrots cut into matchsticks
4 spring onion coarsely chopped
And then freestyle, I like adding bell peppers and using yellow and red chopped as it adds fantastic colour to my Kimchi. I also sometimes swap out the spring onions for red onion again adding colour. You could also add radish.
Coarsely chop the Napa cabbage and place into a bowl add any additional vegetables and then sprinkle with a generous tablespoon of sea salt. Mix well and set aside.
In a blender add garlic, ginger, fish sauce ( if adding) sriracha, honey and rice vinegar. Mix well to create the Kimchi sauce.
Check the Napa/ cabbage and veg by picking up a thick piece and bending it . If it bends it’s ready, if it snaps leave a bit longer. Approx. 30 minutes is usually about right.
Once the Napa is bendy, rinse under cold running water to remove the salt and then allow it to drain well.
Transfer back to a clean bowl and add the sauce and mix. If you are using your hands you may want to wear gloves at this stage.
Now pack the Kimchi tightly into jars, push down with your hands or a pestle so that the vegetables are below the liquid of the sauce. You can use a ramekin, egg cup or a plastic bag with water in it, to keep the veggies weighed down and under the liquid if necessary. Even at this stage it will smell amazing.
Cover with the jar lid but not tight as gasses will need to escape. Leave at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours depending on your taste and then screw the lid on and refrigerate. It can be eaten straight away or will keep for 2 weeks or more and the flavors just improve with time. Experiment and adapt, to make Kimchi that’s just right for you!