Korean Kimchi Recipe by Chef Jovan Bester
Kimchi may not be on everyone’s list of culinary taste bud pleasers, but I guarantee you that you will have to search far and wide for a flavour development such as this. The basic kimchi recipe has a long history as a Korean staple for almost every meal, and the sweetly pungent smell drifts through any Korean family’s house.
The recipe that I have here has been changed a little bit due to the ingredients I normally find. Furthermore, with some modification this recipe has the potential to produce a wonderful alternative on a crocodile dish we recently prepared.
- 1 White Cabbage
- ¼ cup Sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 tsp Grated ginger
- 6 Cloves of garlic cleaned
- 1 tsp Brown sugar / Palm sugar
- 1-5 tbsp Red Chili Flakes
- 240g Daikon Radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks (If you can’t find Daikon radish use the
- small red ones, they have better colour)
- 4 Spring Onions
- Cut the cabbage. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into twqo-inch-wide strips.
- Salt the cabbage. Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your clean hands massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or heavy pot. Let stand for four hours.
- Rinse and drain the cabbage. Rinse and dry the Cabbage to get rid of all the saltiness. Please remember to clean the bowl you soaked the cabbage in.
- Make the paste. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and three tablespoons water in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in three to five tablespoons of Red Chili flakes (Depending on taste).
- Combine the vegetables and paste. The radishes need to be neatly sliced into thin rounds and the Spring Onions need to be chopped. Add the paste from step four.
- Mix thoroughly. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!
- Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least one-inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid.
- Let it ferment. Let the jar stand at room temperature for one to five days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
- Check it daily and refrigerate when ready. Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two.
By Skipping the step of making a paste and just finely chopping the ingredients, and letting out the Chili flakes and replacing it with green chili you will have a cleaner sweeter Kimchi. Experiment by adding lychees to the original batch. It will help with a fruity flavour.
I have also left a batch to ferment for close to three months, it was worth the wait. Just keep an eye out for any discolouring and mold. Check it daily and refrigerate when ready.
Photo credit: www.koreanfoodgallery.com