What can we say about kimchi that hasn't already been said? Kimchi is the staple Korean ferment, made and consumed in vast quantities not only in Asia, but increasingly, in the west. Kimchi is health giving, can be fermented in fairly short order, and the taste is addictive! The technique is the same, no matter what the ingredients. Here is a fairly standard traditional kimchi using easily obtained ingredients. I prefer always at least to have daikon radish, but any radish works well, as do all the cruciferous roots (e.g. kohlrabi, turnip). The fish sauce, and the brown rice flour may be ommitted, and leaving out the chilli and cayenne pepper makes a kid friendly version.
1 large cabbage
1 large daikon radish
2 medium pink radish turnip
2 small watermelon radish
2 medium white globe radish
1 large carrot
2 spring onions
6 large hot red chillies
20 small hot red chillies
Palm-sized piece of ginger root
2 heads of garlic (heads, not cloves!)
1/2 cup wakame pieces
1/2 cup preservative free fish sauce
3 tbsp brown rice flour
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
Brine, as needed, 2 tbsp salt/litre of water
Rub the chilli paste into the vegetables, and mix it in well. Make sure you wash your hands very well after this step, especially before touching your face or perhaps even more sensitive body areas. Add the small chillies and seaweed (wakame) to the bowl, and mix well. Leave to sit, covered with a cloth while you sterilise your jars or crock.
These were placed in jars so the kimchi will be ready in as little as two weeks. Jar ferments happen a lot more quickly. Otherwise, a crock is fine. Here, I have made one jar out of grated ingredients (right of picture below) so it will ferment even more quickly.
The vegetables are spooned into the jars and rammed down hard so the matter is compacted. This will usually express enough brine, but if not, top up with the reserved brine. These jars have the glass insert of a Kilner jar lid as a weight, use whatever you have to fit the vessel you are fermenting in to keep the veges below the surface of the brine.
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