Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that is made of fermented vegetables and spices. Eating fermented foods will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system to help the digestive system become more balanced. There are many Kimchi recipes on the internet, and for this one, Bob researched to come up with his own version. We were able to get all of the vegetables from Michigan growers. If you’re lucky, you will even find Michigan ginger! The Korean hot pepper powder is only (as far as I know) found at a Korean grocery store. Don’t get the Chinese hot pepper powder also sold at Korean stores. It’s a lower quality (and price). You can store the leftover pepper powder in the freezer to keep it fresh for future use.
1 Napa cabbage, approximately 2 pounds
1 medium daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
½ cup white onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sea salt
3 – 5 Tablespoons coarse Korean chili powder (make sure it’s from Korea rather than China)
1 teaspoon sugar
Lactobacillus culture powder
Glass fermentation weights
- Slice cabbage in half lengthwise and then crosswise in 2 inch sections. Discard the tough stem piece.
- Put cabbage chunks in a large bowl, and cover with filtered water. Pour in ¼ cup of salt and massage to mix. Place a plate on cabbage to keep it submerged; let sit 3 hours.
- Pour cabbage into strainer and rinse with cool water. Gently squeeze out excess water. The cabbage will reduce in volume significantly.
- Combine sugar and red pepper flakes, and if desired, lactobacillus culture powder (to ensure a more vigorous fermentation; we use ½ teaspoon of powdered culture) with 1 Tablespoon of water to form a paste and set aside.
- Combine 1 Tablespoon salt with 2 cups of water and set aside.
- Prepare daikon radish, ginger, garlic, carrot, and onion. Combine them with the cabbage.
- Fold in the red pepper paste until the vegetables are evenly coated.
- Pack the mixture into mason jars, packing down as you load. If the liquid doesn’t cover the vegetables, add some of the brine prepared in step 5, so the contents are submerged. Add a glass weight to keep the vegetables from floating and being exposed to air.
- Seal and set the jars out of direct sunlight for about 1 week. Open the jars daily to vent the gasses; then reseal. Keep the contents submerged.
- When tart to desired taste (about 1 week; it varies considerably based on room temperature), refrigerate and consume within 1 month.