Kimchee (김치)


Kimchee is a forever staple in our home. I have many childhood memories making boxes of kimchee with my grandma to hand out in jars to the rest of the family. It was certainly a very happy day for everyone.

Ingredients:

2 napa cabbage
1 cup – salt (I used himalayan pink salt this time, but sea salt is the best)
1/4 cup – sweet rice flour
1 1/2 cup – red pepper flakes
1/4 cup – maesil (plum flavored extract)
1 asian pear
8 – red jalapeno
1/2 of an onion
1/2 cup – garlic cloves
1 tbsp – minced ginger
2 tbsp – salted shrimp
3/4 cup – fish sauce

Optional:
1 radish
green onions

Directions:

  1. Make a salt water bath for the cabbage by adding 1 cup of salt to about 12 cups of water (it may seem too salty, but when it tastes like ocean water it is just right)
  2. Cut the cabbage into fourths
  3. Dunk the cabbage in to the salt water bath so that it seeps into every crevice of the cabbage
  4. Start stacking them into a huge bowl sprinkling extra salt onto each cabbage
  5. Pour the leftover salt water bath over the cabbage pile when done
  6. While you wait about 4 hours until the cabbage becomes slightly limp, start on making the sauce

7. To create the paste that makes the sauce stick to the cabbage, mix 4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of sweet rice flour into a pot and cook on medium heat (make sure there are no clumps of sweet rice flour, I use plastic gloves and mix manually.. but whatever works)
8. This next part is pretty labor intensive, you must stir this paste mixture for awhile (took me about 20 minutes) until it becomes thick OR when left standing it starts to boil9. When finished, add it to a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup of maesil then mix all together and set aside (maesil adds natural sweetness to the kimchi)

10. In a blender, throw the asian pear, red jalapenos, onion, garlic, ginger, salted shrimp and fish sauce all together
11. Pour this mixture into the bowl of paste and mix all together

12. This is optional, but you can add radish by peeling it and slicing into matchsticks (I used my mandolin slicer) and throw in some green onions for added flavor and color

13. After about 4 hours, rinse the cabbage and drain very well (I leave it to drain while I do other errands around the house)
14. Once drained, cut out the root end of the cabbage (some people eat it, but I don’t) then slice the cabbage into small squares/rectangles
15. In a huge bowl, incorporate the cabbage with the sauce (preferably done by hand, wearing long dishwashing gloves)
16. Pack it tightly into kimchi jars or any other air tight container and refrigerate