Kimchi a Korean tradition

Kimchi is as synonymous to Korean cuisine as pasta is to Italian. Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dishes within the larger assortment of banchan (side dishes) and served at every meal and marketed as the national food of South Korea.  Much like pasta there are numerous variations of kimchi originally based around the seasonal vegetable harvest and regional geography. However, when most people think of Kimchi they picture the red spicy, napa cabbage variety.

Napa cabbage is dense at the core with green and white leaves on the exterior and yellow leaves on the inside.

What you will need:

Large Mixing Bowl
Cutting Board
Measuring Cups
Small sauce pan


  Napa Cabbage - The more dense the better
  Korean radish - 2 oz. 2-ich matchsticks
  Carrots - 2 oz. 2-inch matchsticks
  Scallion - 2 oz. 2-inch matchstics
  Watercress - 2 oz. cut to 2-inch pieces
  Chives - 2 oz. cut to 2-inch pieces

  Ginger - 2 Tbsp minced
  Garlic - 1/4 Cup minced
  Red chili powder - 1 Cup
  Sugar - 1/4 Cup
  Fish sauce - 2 Tbsp
  Water - 3 Cups
  Salt - 1/2 Cup + 4 tsp separated
  Sweet rice paste - 1/2 cup (*directions below)


Prepare the napa cabbage - cut through the root end about a quarter of the way though then rip in half; repeat so that you end up with four quarters. Rinse under running water giving the leaves a little scrub.  In a large bowl salt the leaves lifting them to make sure salt gets all the way in there.  Submerge in water and refrigerate overnight to brine the leaves. Rinse and drain in a colander for about 30 min.

*Sweet rice paste - Mix 1/2 cup water and 1 cup water and bring to a slow boil whisking until pancake batter consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Mix all the sauce ingredients into a smooth paste. Add radishes, carrots, scallions, chives and watercress. Place one of the quarters of napa cabbage in a bowl and stuff with the sauce mixture, layering within each leaf. Move stuffed cabbage to glass bowl or sealable container - make sure the exterior of the cabbage lays flat to retain all the liquid. Repeat until the full cabbage is in the container. Pour any remaining sauce into container. It will expand so be sure not to overfill container - leave about 20% open space.  

Kimchi can be enjoyed right away but I like it to ferment for a couple of weeks.  Leave the container on the counter out of the sun for 4-5 days before placing in the refrigerator.  It can last in the fridge for up-to and beyond a year but I figure 6 months is as long as I want to keep it around.

Back in the day, kimchi would be placed in Onggi or claypots and buried to keep cool and ferment until ready to eat.  

1 comment:

  1. YO This dish looks as traditional as it gets. Can't wait to make this meal for my girlfriend YO