Kimchi is a Korean staple, which has found its way into Western cuisine thanks in part to its health benefits. The fermented cabbage not only has a positive benefit on the digestive system, but is also extremely delicious.
I always thought making Kimchi is a long and complex process, so I never made it at home. However, once I tried it, I actually realized how easy it is! And I can tell you, it’s definitely worth it.
At the bottom of this post, you will also find step-by-step photos of the preparation.
If you want to use up leftover kimchi, try kimchi fried noodles or kimchi fried rice. You can find the recipe for kimchi fried noodles with tofu on my Instagram by clicking on the picture below.
- 1 head of Napa cabbage/ chinese cabbage
- 70g salt
- 1 small apple
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cm slice of ginger
- 2 Tbsp Gochugaru = Korean chili flakes (or less if you don’t like it spicy)
- 1 carrot
- 3 scallions (green onions)
- 1 kelp/kombu sheet (ca 10x20cm)
- 1 Tbsp rice flour
* for a simplified/ quicker version, leave out the last 2 ingredients
- Cut the cabbage in half length-wise, then again, so that you have four quarters. Cut the heart (the thick core) off the bottom middle part. Cut the 4 quarters into slices of about 3cm (1 inch) in width. Add the salt to a big bowl and dissolve it in a bit of hot water. Once the salt is dissolved, add cold water, add the cabbage, and fill up the bowl with cold water. Mix well, then let the cabbage sit for 3h, mixing it once in a while. Then drain, saving a cup of the saltwater for later, and rinse the cabbage well.
- In a pot, simmer the kelp in 200 ml water for 10 minutes. Take the kelp out of the water and whisk the rice flour into the water, stirring and simmering for about 3 more minutes until it thickens.
- Cut the apple, onion, garlic and ginger into small chunks and blend in a food processor. Add the kelp water and the chili flakes.
- Cut the carrot into thin strips or use a spiralizer, and cut the scallions into diagonal slices.
- In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix the cabbage, carrot and scallions with the apple puree. Make sure everything is coated with the puree.
- Pack the kimchi into a jar, pressing down firmly to make sure there is as little air as possible in the glass. (If there is very little fluid, add a few Tbsp of the saltwater, but don’t fill the jar up to the top – only about 3/4. The fluid will increase while fermenting, so some of the liquid might bubble out of the jar). Cover the jar with a plate.
- Leave the jar out on the counter top for 24h (if it’s very warm on the counter top, place them in a cupboard or cooler place – the optimal temperature is around 18 – 20°C). Then, taste the flavor of the kimchi. If it is too mild, leave it out for another 12 – 24h, and repeat the tasting. I found 24 – 36h the perfect amount of time. If it is flavorful and spicy enough, place the jar in the refrigerator, where it will last for about a month or more. Open the jar from time to time, to make sure the air can escape. Press down the kimchi, so it is covered with the juice. If something doesn’t smell right or if you see white mold developing on top, you’ll know that the kimchi has gone bad, but this should be very rare. For optimal taste, let it ferment in the fridge for at least another week or more.