Saturday, July 5, 2014

the bestest, easiest, fastest kimchi yet! (UPDATED)

Tewshooz and Dani - this one's for the both of you!

this kimchi is awesome! i love it! it's super-quick and can be eaten immediately and it will still taste like kimchi. but because it's made with regular cabbage and not nappa cabbage, it is far crunchier. i don't know about you - but i love my kimchi to be crunchy!


1 head of cabbage, cored
1 cup of cold water
1/4 cup of kosher salt
1/3 cup of red pepper flakes (the korean kind, not chili flakes)
1/4 cup of fish sauce
1/4 cup of crushed garlic
as much chopped green onion (or chives) as you like (i like about 1/4 cup cut into one inch pieces)
1/2 cup of carrot, julienned
1/2 cup of daikon radish, julienned (i left this out this time as i didn't have any)
1 tbspoon of sugar
rubber or surgical gloves - A MUST!
a clean, sterilized glass jar with lid

(i am so sorry that i didn't get pictures of the steps of the process. if anyone wants to see the actual steps, let me know and the next time i make a batch - which will be soon! i will have my husband take pics!)

1. chop the cabbage as coursely, or as finely as you wish. some people like uniformed, julienned strips whereas i prefer a much courser chop. i just cut mine into big chunks.

2. in a large non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic), put in your cabbage, followed by the water. using your hands, rub the cabbage all through the water so that it all gets wet.

3. now add your kosher salt to the bowl and really get in there with your hands and rub the salt all through the cabbage and the water. you will feel the cabbage start to wilt almost right away.

4. now set aside your cabbage and crush enough garlic to make 1/4 of a cup. depending on the size of your clove you might use the whole clove or 2/3 of it. no matter. add the crushed garlic to another bowl in which you will make the kimchi paste. go and massage your cabbage for a bit moving all of the leaves through the water and rubbing the kosher salt on all of the leaves.

5. now add the red pepper flakes to your kimchi paste. add the fish sauce to the kimchi past. go back and massage your cabbage again.

6. add the green onion, carrot, daikon and sugar. go back and massage your cabbage again.

7. now stir your kimchi paste with a wooden spoon - it won't properly come together until you mash it up with your glove-wearing hands.

8. now massage your cabbage one last time before dumping it into a colander and rinsing, rinsing, rinsing. make sure to rinse several times and be sure to rinse every piece. put the cabbage into a non-reactive bowl big enough to mix in.

9. dry your hands really good and put your gloves on. mash the kimchi paste with your hands and really mix it up together.

10. grab a nice handful of kimchi paste and start rubbing it through your cabbage leaves. repeat this until you are out of kimchi paste and all of the cabbage has been rubbed with the paste. just smash your hands in there like you were mixing a salad or kneading bread.

11. now take small handfuls of your cabbage and drop them in the jar. with every handful, push down with your hand, or if your hand is too big to fit in the jar use a large wooden spoon. press down as hard as you can. you will notice that the cabbage is now releasing juice and that's a good thing!

12. keep adding handfuls to the jar, pressing as hard as you can to release the juice and get rid of air bubbles.

13. fill the jar to one inch head space, wipe the outside and inside rim with a damp cloth and put the lid on.

you can eat this kimchi right away and it is delicious! or you can let it sit at room temperature for 3 days in order to ferment a little more. we always eat a big forkful right before we put the lid on and then let it sit for 1 day.

i swear this is the best-tasting kimchi out there. and i do know my kimchi. i love it with the cabbage and it keeps so crisp and fresh - yummeh! the other great thing is that cabbage is cheap whereas nappa is expensive. cabbage keeps much longer than nappa as well.

anyway,  i hope that you enjoy!

here is a pic of the korean red pepper powder that is traditionally used in making kimchi:

this is the front of the bag. the korean reads:  HAE CHAN DEUL, KO CHA(S) KA RU, which basically translated is, the name of the company is HAE CHAN DEUL, and KO CHA(S) KA RU, is exactly translated as red pepper powder.

here is the back of the bag:

as you can see, from the pictures on the bag, the powder is made from a cross between a jalapeno and cayenne pepper. apparently you can not order the seeds for these peppers from Korea due to some strange embargo or something. but you can order red pepper powder over the internet from a variety of places. just look up korean red pepper powder on the net.