There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made from cabbage, radish, onion and various other vegetables. But “baechu kimchi,” made from napa cabbage, is the most basic and common.
Here’s an easy-to-follow recipe for one cabbage of baechu kimchi from Ro Hyo-sun of Korean Bapsang.
1 large cabbage, or 2 small
1 cup Korean coarse sea salt
5 cups of water
1 pound Korean radish
1/4 Asian pear (optional)
1 tablespoon glutinous rice powder (Mix with 1/2 cup of water, simmer over low heat until it thickens to a thin paste and cool. Yields about 3-4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup Korean red chili pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
1/4 saeujeot, or salted shrimp, finely minced
3-4 raw shrimp, finely minced or ground
3 tablespoons myulchiaekjeot, or fish sauce
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup water
2 large bowls or pots (7-8 quarts)
1 large colander
Large airtight container or jar
Cut the cabbage into quarters. In a large bowl, dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in 5 cups of water. Thoroughly bathe each cabbage quarter in the saltwater. Shake off excess water, then transfer to another bowl.
Using another half cup of salt and starting from the outermost leaf, generously sprinkle salt over the thick white part of each leaf. Repeat with the other cabbage quarters. Pour the remaining saltwater into the bowl of salted cabbages. Set aside for 6-8 hours, rotating the bottom ones to the top every 2-3 hours.
The cabbages should be ready to be washed when the white parts are easily bendable. Rinse thoroughly 3 times in water, especially between the white parts of the leaves. Drain well, cut side down.
Meanwhile, make the glutinous rice paste and cool. Add into this mixture all of the other seasoning ingredients and water. Mix well. Set aside to let the red pepper flakes dissolve and become pasty.
Cut the radish and optional pear into matchsticks. Cut scallions into 2-centimeter-long pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the seasoning mix. Mix well by hand.
Spread the radish-seasoning mix between each leaf of the drained cabbage quarters.
Place in container and leave out a room temperature for a full day or two. Then, store in the fridge. Though you can start eating it right away, kimchi needs about two weeks in the fridge to fully develop its flavors.
For more recipes, visit www.koreanbapsang.com