5 Steps to Korean Kimchi Heaven

Korean culture is a master of preserving foods. Kimchi is the best known example of a food preserving technique that has been around since ancient times.

You can remove the refined sugar and add a sliced pear. Sugar is necessary to feed the bacteria to produce carbon dioxide aiding to the fermentation process. This is a very important attribute to the formula.

You’ll Need

5-6 Pounds small sized Napa Cabbage

1/2 Cup Large Granulated Salt, such as Kosher

2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar or 1 large Asian Pear

3 Tablespoons Glutinous Rice Flour

2.5 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Fish Sauce

25 Cloves of Garlic, Minced Fine

2 Teaspoons of Fresh Ginger, Minced to a Paste

1 Small White Onion, Julienne Cut

1.5 Cups Gochugaru ( Koren Chili Flakes)

1 Korean Radish, Peeled and Cut Julienne Strips ( About 1.5 Pounds)

1 Carrot, Peeled and Cut in Julienne Strips

1 Dozen Scallions Cleaned and Cut in One Inch Strips

1 Cup of Korean Chives, Rough Chopped ( optional if you cannot find them )

Special Equipment

1 large gallon sized airtight container or 4 quart sized.

Plastic Gloves

Heres’ How

Step One :

Cut each cabbage in half, and in half again to reveal quarters. With the tip of your knife, make an X in the root side about 1/4 inch. Gather the quartered cabbage portions and wash well. Season with course grain salt between each leaf and set aside. Allow to rest of 90 minutes.

I like to place all cabbage inside a clean plastic bag inside my sink. I know my sink is clean, but this just gives me added insurance.

Step Two :

After 90 minutes, wash the cabbage like you are giving the baby a bath. Clean well to remove the salt.

Taste the leafs to make sure the salty taste is to a minimum. I rinse my leaves for about five to ten minutes to be certain. Allow cabbage to drain an additional 30 minutes in a colander. Pat dry.

Step Three :

While the cabbage is draining, make the glutinous rice mixture by combining the water and rice flour in a small sauce pan. Heat stirring until it bubbles and cook about 8-10 minutes. Add the sugar, and cook until translucent an additional 2-3 minutes.

If using the pear to activate the fermentation instead of sugar, combine only the rice flour, and water. Add the sliced pear to the vegetable mixture.

Stir and activate the mixture to a porridge. Set aside and cool. Once cooled, combine to the remaining ingredients to form a paste type rub.

Step Four :

While the rice porridge is cooling, glove up and combine all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well with your gloved hands to coat the red chili thought the remaining vegetables and aromatics.

Add the rice porridge to the vegetable mixture and combine to make a Kimchi paste type rub.

Step Five :

Place plastic wrap down on a clean work surface to cover. Begin rubbing the red chili vegetable paste in between each layer of the intact cabbage quarters.

When finished, pack the air tight container making sure to leave about four inches from the top for fermentation gas and liquid expansion.

Make sure to wipe the top of the lid clean and close the container tightly. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1-3 days. this will depend on how warm your kitchen is. The key is to look for several fermentation bubbles to form. Once the fermentation process has begun you can place your delicious Kimchi in the refrigerator. Enjoy now, or save some for later. The longer the cabbage ferments, better the flavor will become.

This Kimchi will stay comfortable in the refrigerator for three to four weeks. If you can keep it that long.


Published by Chef Gigi Gaggero, Host of Silicon Valley's LIVE Food Talk Radio on KSCU 103.3 FM

Professional Chef, Two Time Award-Winning Book Author, Former Academic Director from Le Cordon Bleu, and Host of Silicon Valley's LIVE Food Talk Radio on KSCU 103.3 FM

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