- 1 large Chinese Leaf Lettuce or Napa Cabbage ( approx. 800g chopped into wide slices (2 cm)
- 250g daikon radish (mooli) cut in strips or triangles
- 3 spring onions cut into diagonal I cm chunks, including greens.
- 50g Sea salt (eg. Maldon, for 5% brine – you could use 10% for shorter time )
- 1 litre of water (100g salt /litre of water, to cover the cabbage).
- 1 large handful of spinach (50g)
- 1 pak /bok choi, chopped into wide slices ( 2cm)
For the marinating paste:
- 20g rice flour
- 10g sugar (for the microbes not for you)
- 100ml water
- 25g fresh ginger grated
- ½ Asian pear/normal pear or apple grated
- 5 cm of leek finely chopped
- 8 cloves of garlic minced
- 50g korean red pepper powder
- Optional: 1 tbsp fish sauce or kelp powder and/or 1-2 tsp shrimp paste
- Make a 5% ot 10% salt solution in large bowl and stir until dissolved
- Chop cabbage and pak choi into wide slices (approx. 2 cm) and add to bowl. Leave to soak for 6-12 hours (or with 10% salt for 3-4 hours).
- Make the marinating paste: in a saucepan heat the rice flour, sugar and water and boil for 3-5 minutes until it makes a thick gloopy paste. Leave to cool.
- In a blender, or having separately grated/chopped the components, mix together the garlic, ginger, leek, pear, (fish sauce, shrimp paste).
- Periodically, check the cabbage until a piece of stalk can be bent in two. Taste a piece of the stem – it should be plump juicy and delicious.
- When the cabbage is ready, drain and rinse in water for a minute or so if you’ve used 5% salt – for 10% salt you will need a longer rinsing time. Taste another piece of cabbage stem – it should be salty, but not unpleasantly so. Squeeze the cabbage gently to remove excess water, but don’t overdo it.
- Add daikon, spring onion, spinach, rice flour base, the marinating paste, the gochugaru (i.e – everything!) and with your hands ( gloved – if you’ve sensitive skin or if you don’t want to be orange) mix about 2/3 of paste into the vegetables. Assess coverage and add more paste if you would like – it depends on how much your vegetables have wilted, and the amount of sauce you want. If there is any left over, freeze, or use with some other vegetables.
- Transfer to a Kilner jar, pushing down vegetables gently though it is not as critical to cram them in tightly for this quick ferment. Leave space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion as carbon dioxide is created.
- Leave for 3 days at a cool temperature – approx. 18 oC. At this point your kimchi will have reached a pH of about 4.3-4.5.
- Taste to check that it’s delicious (it will be) and transfer to fridge; it should be kept at the back where temperatures are lowest.
- The kimchi will last for many weeks but will eventually go soft. When it reaches this stage it is still edible, but if you don’t like the texture any more you can use it to add a flavour kick to soups, stews or mayonnaise. If you add it to hot things, though, the beneficial bacteria won’t survive but it will still be a rich source of fibre and heat-stable bioactive compounds.