Kimchi! I love kimchi! I remember the day I first had kimchi, I don't have any idea what else went with the meal but I remember the kimchi that was served! Rodrigo had taken me out to lunch to a Korean restaurant and they served little side dishes of all kinds of yummy pickles and treats to go along with the meal. One of those dishes contained kimchi... and the rest was history! I go through gallons of the stuff every year!
Kimchi is a naturally lacto-fermented pickle made from Napa cabbage, garlic, green onions, and diakon radishes primarily.It is kind of like an Asian version of Sauerkraut. Many other veggies can be added as flavoring or even used on their own as different versions of kimchi. (Cucumber kimchi is easy, super fast and really yummy too!)
Here is what I use to make it:
1 medium head of Napa Cabbage, 1 cup finely grated carrot, about half a cup diakon radish (that's a large white radish, I have a hard time finding them here sometimes in our small town so I use regular little round red radishes sometimes!), one bunch green onions (today I was out so I used half of a medium onion finely chopped... this is a very easy recipe to make substitutions in), 3 or 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon sea salt, and one tablespoon fresh grated ginger (Rodrigo likes it less gingery so I used about half that amount, you can also use dried ground ginger). And you'll need about one teaspoon red pepper. I use red pepper flakes, and I add a little paprika just for some extra color without adding any more heat since kimchi is traditionally red-orange color from so much chili powder!
(*Note* the chili powder used in Korean kimchi is pure powdered chili peppers, no cumin or anything else added like American chili powder used in Chili (the stew) or taco seasoning, it is also quite a bit milder than the pure powdered chili peppers you can find around here, even though it does pack a punch, they use a ton of it in traditional kimchi to turn it orange and it is spicy, but not too spicy! That is why I only use a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and about a teaspoon of paprika for color!)
Chop up the cabbage into large bite size pieces. The little inner leaves you can even leave whole if you want. Shred the carrots and radishes ( I love to use my vintage saladmaster... a birthday gift from my mom! It chops things so much nicer than my regular food processor and it is super easy to use!)
Don't the carrots and radishes look pretty coming out?
Next finely chop the onion , grate the ginger and mince or chop up the garlic. Add everything else to the bowl and then the real fun can begin!
Put your hands down inside the bowl and start mixing! You really want to squeeze the veggies to get their juices flowing! I usually do it for at least 5 minutes!
Once everything is very juicy and well mixed, the contents of your bowl will seem much more compact as you have really squished everything together! (Is "squished" the correct technical term???) The salt will cause the juices to be released from the vegetables with the "squishing".
By this time it will smell pretty yummy and spicy-garlicky! Pack your kimchi into a jar leaving at least an inch of head space for it to expand during the fermentation process. I used this jar since I made more than a quart but not enough for two jars...
Pack everything down tightly so as much of the juice as possible comes to the top of your kimchi. Then put the jar on your kitchen shelf, or in the corner of your counter and let it sit and ferment for a few days. 3 to 5 days usually does it for us! I like mine pretty sour tasting so I usually leave it for 5 days if I can resist it for that long! When you are happy with how fermented it tastes you can put it in the refrigerator and eat it!! Mine never lasts very long, but it should be fine for a couple of weeks in the fridge at least!
If you've never tried it before you should! It tastes great and because it is naturally fermented it is loaded with all kind of beneficial things that do wonders for your health!