I started loving kimchi when I visited Korea. The taste of good kimchi is simply wonderful. I’ve tasted the ‘not-so-nice’ type, where the taste of brine and preservatives was very strong. This type is typically made from mass production and with a short fermentation time. This type was also the first kind of kimchi I ever tried. Thereafter, my impression of kimchi was yucks, until I went Korea.
Making kimchi is a time-consuming project. Plenty of washing, cutting and waiting to do. But the end result is better than the store-bought packages. It tastes fresh and is free of chemical preservatives.
Tongbaechu kimchi (adapted from Maangchi)
- 4 kg of napa cabbage
- 3/4 cup salt (I used korean solar salt)
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp glutinous rice flour
- 350 grams white radish, julienned
- 250 grams carrot, julienned
- 150 grams chinese chives, cut into 1 inch long
- 3 large scallions, sliced
- 36 cloves garlic
- 3 tsp ginger, sliced
- 2 yellow onions, sliced into quarters
- 1 large apple, skinned and cut into quarters
- 1 large asian pear, skinned and cut into quarters
- 3/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup fermented shrimp, chopped (I used chinchalok)
- 200 grams hot pepper flakes
- Slice cabbage in half. Make a small vertical cut in the center, at the root.
- Dunk the cabbage into water to wet the leaves.
- Sprinkle salt into each leave of the cabbage.
- Set aside the salted cabbages for 2 hours. Turn the cabbages every half hour to ensure evenly salted.
- Mix water with rice flour in a saucepan. Turn on heat and cook until boiling. Let it simmer for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
- Place garlic, ginger, onions, apple and pear in the blender. Blend until fine. Pour into a large bowl and add fish sauce, fermented shrimp and hot pepper flakes. Mix well to combine.
- Add radish, carrot, chives, scallion and glutinous porridge into the blended sauce. Mix well to combine.
- Wash the cabbage thoroughly to rinse off the salt. Each leave must be washed carefully. I washed the cabbages 3 times in total.
- From the small vertical cut made at step 1, carefully tear the cabbage halves into quarters.
- Put on disposable gloves. Smear the prepared sauce onto each leave of the quartered cabbage. Fold the cabbage and place into prepared container. I used a claypot and glass airtight containers.
- Leave the kimchi to ferment for 24 -36 hours at room temperature. Due to warm weather, I fermented for 24 hours. To check if kimchi is fermenting, with a clean spoon, press down lightly on the kimchi and you should see some bubbles.
- Keep kimchi in refrigerator.
For a better idea at what to expect during kimchi making, head over to Maangchi’s website (linked above) and watch the video.
I love the sour taste of kimchi. If you do not like your kimchi sour, reduce the fermentation time.
Making kimchi out of 4 kg of cabbage is no joke. Imagine 200 heads of cabbage, as what Maangchi shared on her video about her mum making kimchi!