Timeframe: 1 week

Ingredients (for one quart):
Use organic ingredients please
Sea salt
1 pound Chinese cabbage (napa or bok choy)
1 daikon radish or a few red radishes
1 to 2 carrots
1 to 2 onions and/or leeks, scallions, shallots
3 to 4 cloves garlic
3 to 4 red chilies, depending on taste
3 tablespoons fresh grated gingerroot

Process:

  1. Mix a brine of about 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons salt. Stir well to dissolve salt. Brine should taste good and salty.
  2. Coarsely chop cabbage, slide radish and carrots, and let vegetables soak in brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep them submerged, until soft – a few hours or overnight. Add other vegetables to the brine, such as snow peas, seaweed, etc.
  3. Prepare spices: grate ginger; chop garlic and onion; remove seeds from chilies and chop, crush or put them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Experiment with quantities. Mix spices into a paste. Add fish sauce if you wish – be sure it has no chemical preservatives, which inhibit microorganisms.
  4. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine. Taste vegetables for saltiness. They should not be unpleasantly salty. If so, rinse. If you can’t taste salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of salt and mix.
  5. Mix vegetables with the ginger-chili-onion-garlic paste. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart-size jar. Pack tightly, pressing down until brine rises. If necessary add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge vegetables. Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or zip-lock bag filled with some brine. Or, use your clean fingers to push the vegetables back under the brine daily. Cover the jar to keep out dust and flies.
  6. Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste daily. After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move to refrigerator. Or, you can ferment kimchi more slowly with more salt in a cool spot, such as a basement.

More information about Fermented and Cultured Foods