As some of you may know, I lived one year in Korea with my parents. During that time I learned how to cook many dishes because I was a young lady and according to korean custom, a woman is praised if she knows how to make a good kimchi. Fortunately, I was at an age that the local women took me under their wing and taught me a few things. One of these was how to make traditional kimchi.
Short History Of Korean Kimchi
Korea is a mountainous with a few fertile plains. This makes food preservation during cold months a high priority. When early Koreans started an agricultural lifestyle, they ate salted vegetables to aid in the digestion of grains. The salting of vegetables turned into a preservation art. Source.
Although kimchi is a year-round food, the most common time to start the kimchi making process is during the fall, right before winter sets in. Napa cabbage is fresh and crispy and usually best during this time of year.
For Salting Cabbage:
- 6 pounds napa cabbage ---> Adjust to household size
- 1/2 cup Kosher salt
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
- 2 tablespoons raw brown sugar
- 2 cups Korean radish matchsticks
- 1 cup carrot matchsticks
- 7 to 8 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup chopped Asian chives
- 1 cup water Dropwort
Seasonings & Spices:
- 1/2 cup garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup fermented salted shrimp
- 2 cups hot pepper flakes
If the cabbage cores stick out too much, trim them off.
To split a cabbage in half without shredding the densely packed leaves inside, first cut a short slit in the base of the cabbage, enough to get a grip on either half, and then gently pull the halves apart so the cabbage splits open.
Cut a slit through the core of each half, 2 inches above the stem. You want the cabbage leaves to be loose but still attached to the core.
Dunk the halves in a large basin of water to get them wet. Sprinkle the salt between the leaves by lifting up every leaf and getting salt in there. Use more salt closer to the stems, where the leaves are thicker.
Let the cabbages rest for 2 hours. Turn over every 30 minutes, so they get well salted. From time to time you can ladle some of the salty water from the bottom of the basin over top of the cabbages if you want to.
After 2 hours, wash the cabbage halves a few times under cold running water. Giving them a good washing, to remove the salt and any dirt. As you wash, split the halves into quarters along the slits you cut into earlier. Cut off the cores, and put them in a strainer over a basin so they can drain well.
While the cabbage is salting for 2 hours, and in between the times you’re turning it over, you can make the porridge:
Combine the water and the sweet rice flour in a small pot. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble. Add the sugar and cook 1 more minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and let it cool off completely.
Pour cooled porridge into a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, fermented salted shrimp, and hot pepper flakes. Mix well with the wooden spoon until the mixture turns into a thin paste.
My suggestion would be if you like your kimchi to be less chunky then cut everything in smaller pieces, but do not blend or Cuisinart the vegetables. Shop everything by hand, although this takes much longer and it will taste better.
Add the radish, carrot, and green onion, plus the Asian chives (or more green onions) and the water Dropwort if you’re using them. Mix well.
A note of caution is that kimchi porridge stains everything, including your skin so wear gloves and an apron. If you have long hair pull it back away from the food.
Now it's time to bathe your cabbage in this porridge and be very careful since it can splat everywhere. Get close to the ends where the cabbage meets but do not break apart. Be gentle, yet firm.
Spread some kimchi paste on each cabbage leaf. When every leaf in a quarter is covered with paste, wrap it around itself into a small packet, and put into your jar, plastic container, or onggi.
Eat right away, or let it sit for a few days to ferment.
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The kimchi will start fermenting a day or two at room temperature, depending on the temperature and humidity of your room. The warmer and more humid it is, the faster the kimchi will ferment. Once it starts to ferment it will smell and taste sour, and pressing on the top of the kimchi with a spoon will release bubbles from beneath.
Once it starts to fermented, store in the refrigerator to use as needed. This slows down the fermentation process, which will make the kimchi more and more sour as time goes on.
This is my entry for the Medicinal Gourmet Cooking Collective challenge week 3, fermented foods for good gut health! I'm not sure who is holding this initiative but I found this great "gut health" share from @eco-alex here. Since, I've had issues with my gut during periods of my life, many different foods that include kimchi have overcome this battle. I'm sure you will find this recipe helpful and let me know if you try it.
As always, I love community engagement so please leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond.
Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I’m a Certified Indian Blood member of the Hopi & Apache Native American tribes, Reiki Master-Teacher, Medicine woman in-training, paralegal, researcher, and writer based in the mountains of Colorado, USA. I work closely with fellow planktons and minnows in a few groups by helping them adjust to Steemit and curate quality content. I’m especially interested in finding others who love natural medicine originating from ancient practices, gold and silver, and energy work. Additionally, I'm the creator of #MedicineCardMonday and #FreedomFriday, so if you are interested in receiving Native American Medicine stop by my blog every Monday to say hello!
A'OO, Eagle Spirit