Introduction: Yet Another Kimchi Recipe

I make kimchi every couple of weeks, usually a gallon-jar at a time. It has become one of my life staples, and I start craving it at weird times throughout the week. Great stuff!

Kimchi is a naturally fermented food, much like sauerkraut, but originally from Korea. Recipes vary wildly, and Koreans will often add fish or shrimp as an ingredient. I have tried shrimp-sauce, but my wife says it makes me stink.

I know this recipe is not exactly traditional Kimchi, so don't go getting yourself all bent out of shape if you are one of those people.
Basically I just took the idea of Kimchi, and used what ingredients were readily available at the local market. I do have a bag of red-chili powder that someone bought for me from an Asian Market, but before that I was just using red-pepper flakes that can be found in the spice-section of most U.S. groceries.

Step 1: The Ingredients

For this batch, I used all vegetables (no shrimp-past), and included a sour-green apple which gives it a subtle sweet/spicy flavor. I

was making two-gallons in this batch, which will last me the month.

  • 1 green apple (granny-smith I think they call it)
  • 7 or 8 carrots
  • a few garlic cloves
  • about 4 TBspoons of fresh ginger
  • 3 bunches of radishes (I use red radishes because that is what is available)
  • 2 ~ 3 heads of green cabbage
  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 4 or 5 onions, your choice of color. I mix it up depending on what is on sale at the market
  • 1/2 cup sea-salt
  • 1/4 cup red-pepper powder....or red-pepper flakes...less if you do not want it so spicy...more if you like it super-hot

Step 2: Chop It All Up

Chop everything. I start with the apples, carrots, radishes,etc. and end with the cabbage.

Step 3: Smash It Up

Once I have everything chopped, I give it all a good smashing with my mini-club ( which is just a pine dowel that I have specifically for bashing kimchi) . Some people use the end of a baseball bat, or the bottom of a jar.

Go to work on bashing the mix up. Usually pounding for about a full minute. I find that having the cabbage on top and the radishes/carrots/garlic etc,on the bottom.. keeps things from flying out so much while smashing.

Step 4: Smoosh It Into a Jar

After my workout, I fill up two gallon-size jars. I really press the stuff in there, as it needs to be compressed to get air out so it can ferment properly.

I do not really add any water, as the cabbage will form its own juice in short time

Step 5: Air Traps

I have some lids with rubber-grommets where a tube can be inserted. The tube goes to a jar of water. This allows air to escape, but not get in....this part is not really necessary, but it seems to help the process a little.

I know this part looks like I have a small lab or something, but it really is not necessary and is probably over-kill

. You can do just as well by just putting a cloth over the top with a rubber-band around it to hold it on. Just be sure to get the mix pressed down beneath the liquid that will form over the next day or two.

After making hundreds of batches of Kimchi, I have found that it really takes care of itself if I just press the stuff down.

Sometimes I put a clean (boiled) river-rock in to push the stuff down and that works well. Bubbles might come up..that is healthy fermentation going on!

Step 6: Let Fermentation Begin!

Lastly, I tuck the jars up into a cabinet and let them sit for around 3 days before moving the jars to the fridge. The fermentation process continues in the fridge, but at a much slower rate.

I start eating the kimchi by the second day. I recommend scooping out a
bowl every couple of days throughout the process to taste how it changes over the week (as instructed by Sandor Katz).. You can put the bowl in the fridge to chill for a while before eating.. Be sure to pack things down again after scooping out the sample bowl.

A gallon jar does not last me very long because once I have a good batch, I just crave the stuff and eat it like mad, so I have never let it sit longer than a couple of weeks. I have given a jar to a friend and he had it for several months in his fridge. I tasted it and the flavor was much different to what I was used to....more like saurkraut. The ginger had mellowed quite a lot and it was not as spicy.

It certainly is an acquired taste, but once you start making your own it becomes addicting.

Comments

author
spunk (author)2014-07-07

I love kimchi and make it myself all the time!

Those lids look neat, Did you make them yourself? If so I'd like to see an instructable about them ;)

author
ghettocottage (author)spunk2014-07-07

The lids are really a simple affair: just a hole drilled in the lid with a rubber grommet from the hardware store.
My wife uses similar lids to mason jars so she can put a straw in and drink from the jar.

author
spunk (author)ghettocottage2014-07-08

Thanks for the reply!

I'll have to look for these in the hardware storer. You just choose a size that fits your hose tightly - or do you need silicone or something similar to seal it?

I assume the hose is something like aquarium piping. Right?

author
ghettocottage (author)spunk2014-07-08

"I assume the hose is something like aquarium piping. Right?"

Yes, just some simple tubing from the hardware store

author
spunk (author)ghettocottage2014-07-08

I'll try to find all the parts on my next trip to the hardware store.

Thanks for the tips!

author
spunk made it! (author)2014-07-08

Here's a picture of my last batch.

I used a lot of young turnips and instead of cabbage I used the turnip leaves :)

Turned out quite nice... I like to experiferment ;)

kimchi.JPG
author
ghettocottage (author)spunk2014-07-08

lovely! I also like to try different things (experiferment..funny). We occasionally get turnips from the farmers market, so that would be a good one to try

author
jesse4015 made it! (author)2014-07-07

made some as per your recipe but halved your amounts, and left out carrots. filled 3 quart jars!

kimchi.jpg
author
ghettocottage (author)jesse40152014-07-07

looks good! Sometimes when I make multiple jars like that I will make one jar spicier and one less spicy...or even slightly different ingredients just to change things up a little

author
jesse4015 (author)2014-07-07

I use an airlock from the beer store down the road. it was only 70 cents, including the rubber cork it fits into. might be worth looking into. the rock idea is totally cool. ill have to try that. thanks for sharing!

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