Timeframe: 1 week
Ingredients (for one quart):
Use organic ingredients please
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
- Mix a brine of about 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons salt. Stir well to dissolve salt. Brine should taste good and salty.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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