If you go to an Asian market to buy kimchi, the fermented vegetable side dish, be ready for a lot of choices. In addition to several prepared varieties sold in jars, you may be faced with vendors selling their own homemade kimchi from large tubs. While there are similarities to them, each batch of kimchi is as unique as the cook who made it. Cabbage dominates in the most familiar versions, but other ingredients such as daikon radish, carrots, and other vegetables may be included as well, with varying degrees of spiciness. With all those choices, it may be easier to make your own, using this recipe as a starting point, adding more or less garlic, cayenne, or kochijan paste according to taste.
Traditionally kimchee kimchi is left at room temperature for a few days (or longer) to ferment, but my version takes just 24 hours, although the fermentation process will continue (albeit more slowly) once the kimchee kimchi is refrigerated.
Kimchi is rich in vitamins, iron, calcium, and iron, and also low in fat and high in fiber, kimchi’s ; its greatest health benefit is a result of its fermentation process that creates good or “healthy” bacteria (the same kind found in yogurt or sauerkraut) which in turn, preserves the vegetables and gives them their distinctive tangy flavor.
- 5 cups coarsely chopped napa cabbage
- 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cloves garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon cayenne or 2 tablespoons kochijan paste combined with 1 tablespoon hot water
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, and scallion. Add the salt and water. Place a plate inside the bowl to hold the vegetables under water. Cover and set aside for 4 hours.
Drain well and discard the salt water. Rinse the vegetables well and drain again, squeezing out any remaining liquid.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, cayenne mixture, vinegar, and pepper. Mix well. Add to the reserved vegetables and mix well to coat.
Cover tightly and set aside on the kitchen counter to ferment overnight. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator where it will continue to ferment at a slower rate. Properly stored, the kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders © Robin Robertson, 2014, Andrews McMeel Publishing, photo by Sara Remington.