We finally followed through on making some kimchi for my father's birthday. Week old Kimchi, a couple books on Native American medicinal herbs, and he was happy to say the least. We made some for the first time a couple years ago and it took me about five minutes to fall in love with it.
Kimchi is a somewhat spicy Korean delicacy made of various vegetables. The main ingredient in ours is salted (sea salt) napa, savoy cabbage, or bok choy seasoned with ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and onions. We then add a few other vegetables and let the concoction sit in loosely covered jars at around 60° for about five days to undergo lactic acid fermentation. The added vegetables can be anything you like, kale, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, corn even certain fruits like apples.
Like sauerkraut, kefir and other fermented foods we eat, kimchi is supposed to be very healthy. Full of probiotics due to the fermentation process, vitamins contained in the ingredients, and good bacteria, it is possibly a true "super food". Give it a try.
Basic Kimchi recipe -
2 large napa or savoy cabbage
1 thinly sliced red pepper
6 cups of cold water
3 tablespoons of sea salt
1 tablespoon of fresh garlic, finely diced
1 - 2 tablespoon of fresh ginger, finely diced or grated
1/4 cup of fresh green onions, thinly sliced into 2" pieces
2 teaspoon of dried red chili pepper flakes
2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon of sugar
1. Chop cabbage into 2" pieces2. Mix salt in cold water
3. Place cabbage in gallon zip lock bags or tightly sealed glass jars, fill with salt water brine and place in refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight flipping occasionally
4. Drain and reserve brine
5. Mix all other ingredients with cabbage
6. Pack 1 gallon jar with mixture leaving 2" space at top. Pour reserved brine over the cabbage to cover.
7. Push a small freezer bag into the mouth of the jar and pour the remaining brine into the bags (you may need the extra brine later). Better yet, use another glass jar that will fit inside your gallon jar.
8. Let kimchi ferment in a cool place no higher than 70° for 3-6 days. The longer the stronger.
9. Remove the brine weight, add more brine to jar if neccesary and cap tightly. Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for a couple months.
That is the basic recipe we used on my fathers kimchi. The new batch we are making will include a little diced kale, radichio, Italian chicory and perhaps a little more red pepper and red pepper powder. We have not made this in years and it was fun to get back into it. We try to keep the salt content low and always use real sea salt when fermenting foods. Remember salt obtained from the natural evaporation of sea water is entirely different from modern refined salt and much better for you.