Korean kimchi

Adapted from Sara Moulton

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head napa cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp sweet or hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper
  • 3 medium scallions
  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove

Directions:

  1. Trim off the core end of the cabbage. Split each leaf lengthwise and cut it crosswise into 1 1/2 inch ribbons (about 4 cups). Combine the cabbage and salt in a nonreactive bowl and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours.
  2. Bring the vinegar, sugar, paprika, and cayenne to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop the bell pepper (about 1/2 cup) and transfer it to a medium bowl. Trim and thinly slice the scallions (a heaping 1/3 cup) and peel and Microplane-grate the ginger (about 1 tablespoon); transfer each to the bowl with the bell pepper as it is prepared. Press the garlic (about 1 teaspoon) into the bowl.
  4. Drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry the cabbage; add it to the bell pepper mixture along with the vinegar mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pack the kimchi into a nonreactive bowl or jar, cover, refrigerate until you are ready to use it. Kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

I use apple cider vinegar in making Korean Kimchi. It’s good — I like all of these pickled veggies, no cooking oil, no fat, just fresh vegetables. I made Kimchi with julienned carrots (as a sub for the red bell pepper). First I salted the Napa cabbage in a big pot and put a heavy plate on it, with added weights on it, so it will sweat more water out of it — for 4 hours or longer is fine. Also I used store-bought Kimchi first: after I finished the jar, then I could used the leftover sour juice for starter, as a shortcut. It came out pretty good! No need to spend big money to buy it packaged every time. I don’t eat Kimchi often, but once a while with my homemade fried rice, it’s a good combination in taste.
~Kai-ling

A side of kimchi with pork fried rice

P.S. Also I have heard that Kimchi and sauerkraut are good fermented foods: “Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage… During the fermentation process, beneficial probiotics, or ‘live bacteria’ are produced, and these probiotics are what give sauerkraut most of its health benefits. Sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fibre and contains vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.” (BBC Good Food)

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