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Simple Kimchi

Make your cabbage harvest last my making this simple Asian delicacy.


Simple Kimchi - Photo by Lori Rice (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Lori Rice

Korean kimchi is a fermented salad or condiment made with cabbage and a variety of Asian seasonings. Along with a few ingredients found at international markets, this kimchi is a great way to use garden cabbage and local honey. The longer kimchi is allowed to ferment, the tangier it gets. I prefer to eat mine 24 to 48 hours after it's prepared, while others enjoy the flavor after longer fermentation (up to two weeks).

Yield: 1 quart jar

Ingredients

  • 1 head napa cabbage
  • 2 tsp. coarse sea salt, divided
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/8 cup fish sauce
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup Korean chili powder

Preparation
Roughly chop cabbage into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Layer half in large baking pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Spread other half of cabbage over first layer and sprinkle with remaining salt. Let sit 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.

Transfer cabbage to large colander, and rinse with cold water. Gently squeeze and press cabbage to drain as much liquid as possible. (Don't be afraid to bruise cabbage as you squeeze it. This breaks down cell walls to extract even more liquid.)
When as much liquid as possible is drained, transfer cabbage back to pan or large mixing bowl. Add green onions and set aside.

In medium-sized bowl, mix fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey and chili powder. Add chili paste to cabbage.

Don gloves (the chili powder can stain) and hand-mix paste into cabbage. Mix thoroughly, ensuring all cabbage is coated. Firmly pack kimchi into 1-quart canning jar. Cover with lid and screw on band. Place jar in cool, dark spot for 24 to 36 hours. Open about once per day to release carbon dioxide.

Taste during this room-temperature fermentation period. Once it has a slight tang or begins to bubble, place jar in refrigerator. Enjoy for up to two weeks. (It will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator, so you'll have to determine at which point you enjoy it most by tasting it a different times throughout the process.)

 

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