What’s Cara Cooking? I made Kimchi!

What’s Cara Cooking? I made Kimchi!

See what happens when you decide to stop into H Mart when you’re too hungry? 

I went to just “pick up something for lunch”. I ended up with 2 giant Napa Cabbages and ton of daikon radishes.

Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut in that it’s species of fermented cabbage. The simple transformation from a humble veggie into a probiotic powerhouse is an alchemical mineral. For most people, fermented condiments benefit digestion, and support immunity. Plus they just taste great. 

Full Disclosure: I am not a Kimchi expert. I just like to cook stuff. Kimchi is so forgiving. I’ve made it with pears, apples, the wrong cabbage. If you’re inspired to make it, forge ahead fearlessly. I used to teach Chinese Herbology at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies, which is a Korean Buddhist school. One of the best perks was the huge spreads of amazing Korean food, including huge trays of Kimchi. I’d bring in mine for the ministers to taste. Let’s say, at least they were polite. 

Ironically, I spent the weekend in a training with Summer Bock, who’s a calls herself a Fermentarian. I don’t know if she coined the term, but it puts a smile on my face. 

Here’s what I did:

I knew the basic roadmap. I usually wing it. This was the first time I actually bought gojugaru- which is basically Korean cayenne. Usually I use a random assortment of the chili’s my husband grows and dries each year. 

First I quartered the cabbage and soaked it in brine. 

Then I forgot the 2nd step which is to soak it in fresh water after! I hope its not too salty. 

I combined a cup of the hot pepper, 6 cloves of garlic, a bunch of grated ginger ( how much? Who knows? Maybe ⅓ cup). Finally, I had a jar of fermented Shrimp paste languishing in the fridge- so in in went. I had, perhaps 1/2 cup. I cut up a bunch of scallions on the bias and mixed it all together. 

To each quarter of cabbage I first sprinkled Himalayan sea salt in between the leaves. Then, because the day was spectacular, I went for a walk. 

Then I massaged the spice mixture in between the leave, totally forgetting to wear gloves ( pray that I don’t rub my eyes!)

I diced most of the daikon and layered bundles of the cabbage with a sprinkle of daikon and repeated this until it was gone. 

finally, I remembered i had wanted to include kombucha seaweed. So, I tucked a bunch of small pieces around the edges. 

I put a plate on top and weighted it with a couple of cans making sure that the there’s enough juice that exudes from the cabbage to cover it so it ferments without spoiling

The last step is just waiting. Some recipes say a couple of days. Some day weeks. 

You’ll want to leave it out for at least a couple of days before storing it in the fridge.

Here’s the final product. I ended up with extra liquid, which I’m saving to use as a marinade.

Homemade Kimchi

Make sure to let me know how yours turns out and be sure to share pics with me!

In good health!