-Korean-

Kimchi

Ingredients

    1 napa cabbage (Chinese leaf)

    3 tbsp sea salt (fine)

    1 1/2 large onion (chopped)

    4 spring onion (sliced)

    4 tbsp gochugaru chilli flakes

    3 garlic cloves

    5 cm piece ginger

    1 tsp sugar

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"Kimchi is essentially Korea’s national dish, and is served with every meal. It’s fermented spicy cabbage, traditionally made by families during late autumn to last them throughout the year, and then stored in pots underground. It’s easily found in Asian stores although it’s not usually vegetarian, as kimchi is mostly made with a small amount of fish sauce and/or shrimp paste. This version, however, is delicious without."

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1.

Clean and sterilise a jar or jars. 

2.

Chop the cabbage into 3cm squares, discarding the stem and core. Place into a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, and massage in the salt, ensuring it is evenly distributed throughout. Set aside for 1 hour. Meanwhile, blend 1/2 an onion with the garlic, ginger and sugar in a food processor until smooth.

3.

When the cabbage is ready, tip it into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Drain well and allow to dry a little. It will feel quite limp and soft.

4.

Place it back into the mixing bowl, and add the chopped onion, spring onions and gochugaru. Add the paste mix and, using clean hands, mix and massage it into the vegetables in order to combine everything thoroughly.

5.

Gently push a ramekin (or similar weight) down on top of the kimchi mixture until the liquid rises above the cabbage. Keep this weighted down until the kimchi has had its full fermentation time of 3-5 days. Close the lid on the jar but don’t fully seal it (the air will need to escape as it ferments), and place in a cool area of your kitchen out of direct sunlight. It’s a good idea to place the jar on a plate, in case of spillages that can occur when the liquid ferments and bubbles over the top of the jar. As the kimchi ferments, it can smell quite strong and ‘cabbagey’, so do warn your family or housemates, and perhaps avoid making it if you have guests staying!

6.

Check the jar daily for 3 days, pushing the mix down to release any air pockets and allow the accumulated liquid to come to the surface. It’s important that the vegetables are submerged beneath the liquid. Seal the lid to cover each day, then refrigerate after 3-5 days, at which point the kimchi should smell strong, sour and pickled – but not unpleasant. Taste the kimchi to decide if it needs more fermenting, then place in the fridge to store.

7.

You can use the kimchi straight away, but may find the flavour needs a couple of weeks to develop enough to your liking. Once fully fermented, the kimchi will keep for up to six months (possibly longer) in the fridge, but do check it from time to time as it can go mouldy if there are any air pockets or the liquid evaporates away.

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