February 16, 2010


Inspired by the success of my sauerkraut, but wanting something a bit perkier to have on hand as an alternative to the kraut, I decided to try making kimchee. There are many, many, many recipes for kimchee out there, so I read a dozen or so, and saved four of them to ponder, then distilled them down into the following:


Cut into 1" pieces:
1 Napa cabbage (discarding the hard joins at the base and core)
1 6-7 in. 'baby' bok choi

Place a couple of inches of the cabbage mixture into a large jar or bowl, and cover with a brine made of:
3 qts filtered (chlorine-free) water
2 cups water kefir (or whey, or you can just use 3.5 qts water)
2 T. salt

Pound/Mash the cabbage mixture using a potato masher or muddler to break up some of the cell walls, then layer on more cabbage and more brine, mashing/muddling between layers, until all the cabbage and brine have been put into the brining jar/bowl.

If the cabbage is not completely submerged (some will float), put a plastic bag into the mouth of the jar, and pour water into the bag. Seal the bag. This will keep air and dust from getting in.

Soak for 12 hours.

Once the soaking period is over, remove the cabbage from the brine, reserving the brine.

Toss the cabbage with:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ginger, minced
2" ginger root, sliced and cut into sticks
1 medium daikon radish, sliced and cut into sticks
1 medium carrot, sliced and cut into sticks
4 green onions, whites sliced, greens sliced thinly on the diagonal

In a bowl, whisk together the sauce:

1/3 cup fish sauce
1-2 T. sriracha (I used 2 and skipped the flakes)
1 t. chili pepper flakes (optional)

Toss the cabbage mixture with the sauce, making sure the sauce is distributed throughout. When well mixed, stir in:

½ cup water kefir grains (optional)

Once everything is thoroughly mixed together, pack the cabbage mixture into one or more jars, allowing some room for expansion. If any sauce remains in the mixing bowl, pour it into the jar(s). If the cabbage mixture is not covered by the sauce and juices, add some of the reserved brine to the jars to cover the contents.

Screw the lid on the jar tightly.If your jar does not have a lid, push a plastic food storage bag into the mouth of the jar, and pour any remaining brine or plain water into the bag. Seal the bag, and make sure it is spread out over the contents in the jar. This will keep air and dust from getting in.

Let the kimchee ferment in a cool place, at a temperature no higher than 68° F, for 3 to 6 days, until the kimchee is as sour as you like.

I put up the kimchee last Friday. Today I tasted it - yum! The jars are now happily albeit more slowly continuing to ferment inside my fridge.

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