tongbaechu kimchi


kimchi2I 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
  1. Slice cabbage in half. Make a small vertical cut in the center, at the root.
  2. Dunk the cabbage into water to wet the leaves.
  3. Sprinkle salt into each leave of the cabbage.
  4. Set aside the salted cabbages for 2 hours. Turn the cabbages every half hour to ensure evenly salted.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Add radish, carrot, chives, scallion and glutinous porridge into the blended sauce. Mix well to combine.
  8. Wash the cabbage thoroughly to rinse off the salt. Each leave must be washed carefully. I washed the cabbages 3 times in total.
  9. From the small vertical cut made at step 1, carefully tear the cabbage halves into quarters.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

cabbage chilling out with salt
cabbage chilling out with salt

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!

kimchi1A very interesting experience, though tiring. I sure slept well that night after making kimchi. 🙂


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