I’ve been fascinated with pickled/preserved foods lately, and have been meaning to make kimchi for a while. I purchased one kind in a jar (from Essene market) that was delicious, and one kind (from Whole Foods) that was vile. I did some searching online to find a recipe that did not contain fish or shrimp, and had to order two ingredients online: gochujang (korean chile paste) and gokchu garu (korean crushed red peppers). There are many many recipes for kimchi, and many different kinds of kimchi. There was even a woman in my MLA program who was writing her thesis project on the history/cultural significance of kimchi!
Kimchi is super easy to make. The recipe in the link produces one quart jar of kimchi. My jar just finished it’s 48-hour sitting out at room temperature and fermenting period and is now resting in the fridge for four days, so I can’t report yet on how it turned out. But here’s a basic overview of how it’s made:
Get one Napa cabbage, cut it in half and remove the core. Cut it into small (2″) pieces and toss with two tablespoons of coarse sea salt. Put it in a (non-metal) colander inside a large bowl and weight the cabbage down with something heavy. Leave it out at room temperature for 24 hours. The salt will wilt the cabbage and make much of the water come out of it.
Get the rest of the ingredients together- ginger, garlic, scallions, korean chile paste and red pepper, rice vinegar. (See the linked recipe for the exact quantities, I don’t remember them offhand!) Chop and mix everything in a big bowl to make a marinade (except the scallions).
Take your cabbage in small handfuls out of the colander and squeeze any extra water out of it. Add the chopped scallions and mix it all together. Pack it into a jar with a lid, let it sit out at room temperature for 48 hours, and then refrigerate it for another 4 days before eating.