Kimchi is Korea’s quintessential dish.
Every Korean household has a jar of Kimchi in their refrigerator.
It’s so important that the Korean economy has a “Kimchi Index”.
The index tracks the change in price of the 13 main ingredients used in Kimchi like Napa cabbage, chili, Korean radish, anchovies, etc.
When the price start to climb, it makes national headlines. Stay high for too long…and we’re talking about impeachment (heh!)
There are many different types of Kimchi, but the most famous one is Napa Cabbage Kimchi.
Do Koreans actually make Kimchi at home?
With the dizzying pace of life in Korea, it’s rare to see families (let alone, single livers) make Kimchi it at home.
Back in the old days, families would gather every winter to make an extra-large batch of Kimchi for the whole year.
This event is called Gimjang in Korean.
To describe gimjang in a few phrases…
Newspaper spread over the floor. Large plastic tubs filled with Kimchi paste. Gloves on. Mini squabbles between family members…
And a whole lot of Kimchi!
Today, we’ll show you a simple recipe that you can use to make your first homemade Kimchi.
Best of all, we’ll only use 1 Napa cabbage.
That way, if you mess up… its okay! No big deal… just buy another one (However, if you mess up with a batch of 10 cabbages, chances are you’ll never try again!)
I highly-recommend that you follow each step as instructed below!
Remember to sample the cabbage (or Kimchi paste) as you proceed through each step.
Then make notes on a scratch pad about the spiciness, saltiness, etc. On your next try, you can the include less salt, more gochugaru or other adjustements.
Soon enough, you’ll have your own personal Kimchi recipe that’s tailor-fitted to your palate.
Key Taste Variable: Time
The Kimchi will taste different as it sits and ferments in the refrigerator.
Try tasting it fresh – right after you finish making it.
Then sample a piece – after 24 hours at room temperature, and being chilled in the refrigerator.
You will notice the flavor get deeper, slightly more sour and concentrated as the days go on. I think it tastes best when it’s been in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.
Regardless, if you get stuck or have any troubles with the recipe, DM us on IG!
We’ll be more than happy to help you out 🤓
-Daniel out 🕺
Kimchi - A simple recipe for your first time
- Napa cabbage - 1 head
- Kosher salt or Sea Salt - 1.5 cups Don't use regular dining salt - the salt crystals should be large
- Korean radish - 2 inch piece
- Asian Chives - 20 stalks
- Dashima Kombu - iPhone size piece of
- Shiitake mushrooms - 4
- Glutinous rice powder - 2 Tablespoon ok to use all-purpose flour as well
- Gochugaru Korean red chili flakes - 1 cup
- Minced garlic - 2 Tablespoon
- Minced ginger - 1 Tablespoon
- Anchovy sauce - 1/4 cup
- Honey - 2 Tablespoon
- Sugar - 1/2 Tablespoon
- Kosher Salt - 1 Tablespoon
- Cut the Napa cabbage into 4 pieces. Wash thoroughly and get off any dirt - especially near the stems.
- Fill a large plastic bowl with 6 cups of water. Then add-in 1/2 cup* of kosher salt. [*NOTE: In the video, we state to add 1 cup of kosher salt. That's because we purposely didn't stir the water until the salt pieces completely dissolved. Some of our viewers have stirred the water until all of the salt crystals disintegrate - which makes the water too salty! To avoid confusion, we recommend using only 1/2 cup of kosher salt.] After adding the 1/2 cup, give the water a few stirs with your hands. (Again, no need to completely dissolve the salt into the water.) Then quickly dip each cabbage piece into the water - just so its wet, don't leave it sitting in the water. Afterwards, set it on a strainer and let it drip-off excess water for a few minutes.
- Then pour-out 1 cup** of kosher salt - we'll use roughly this amount for the entire 4 cabbage pieces. Now, grab some salt with your fingers and toss it onto each layer of the cabbage - just a few sprinkles for each layer. (Imagine sprinkling salt on an egg - thats the amount you want to put on each layer.) Focus the salt onto the white stems of the cabbage.[**NOTE: You do NOT need to sprinkle on the whole 1 cup of salt - okay to use like 3/4 cup and have some leftover (as cabbage sizes are not always the same). Don't over-salt in this stage or your Kimchi will taste too salty] Then cover it with a lid (to prevent bugs from getting in) and let it sit in room-temperature for at least 6 hours (or overnight).
- Next day, bend the cabbage stem and check that it doesn't snap. If it does snap, let it sit for longer in the salty water.
- Drain the cabbage from the brine and wash each layer thoroughly under a running faucet. After one round of washing, wash again! This second wash will help reduce the overall salty flavor from the leaves. [IMPORTANT: At this point, taste the cabbage leaf - it should taste slightly-salty, but not overly salty.]Wash it again for a third time - if it tastes too salty.
- Set the washed cabbage pieces on a strainer and get rid of excess water.
- Peel Korean radish. Then cut each section into thin circles. Then cut each circle into thin match sticks.
- Cut asian chives into 2 inch sections.
- Take out a pot and fill with 2 cups of water. Place in 4 Shiitake mushrooms and dashima pieces. Put it on a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes to extract broth. Strain the broth and let it fully cool down. (Note: It is important to let the stock broth cool down completely)
- When the broth is cooled down, place in the glutinous rice powder (or flour) and mix into the stock. Mix thoroughly to get rid of all clumps. (Note: Don't turn on the heat until you have fully mixed the powder into the stock). Then place the pot onto a medium heat. Keep stirring until the paste thickens up and gets a gravvy-like consistency.
- Get a large plastic bowl. Put in Gochugaru, minced garlic, minced ginger, anchovy sauce, honey, salt and sugar. Then put-in the paste as well. Give all of the ingredients a good mix.
- Then put-in the Korean radish and garlic chive pieces as well. Mix veggies in and coat them in the thick paste.
- Place Kimchi paste on each layer of the cabbage leaf (reference video). Repeat for all 4 cabbage pieces.
- Place the finished Kimchi pieces into a large Tupperware or large mason jar.
- Place plastic wrap over the container and poke some holes into it. Let it sit out in room temperature for one day.
- The next day, you will see bubbles in the kimchi liquid (from the fermentation). Now place the fermenting kimchi in the refrigerator. Let it chill in the refrigerator for a few hours
- Once the kimchi is cold, chop the cabbage into sections and serve! Enjoy!
- Make sure to cool down the stock soup before placing in the glutinous rice powder. Fully stir in the powder until you see no lumps - then turn on the heat.
- With each week, the Kimchi will taste more sour as it ferments longer. Kimchi is edible for many months. "Aged" Kimchi is popular in Kimchi Jjigae or Kimchi panackes.
- If you have any specific questions, leave us a comment.
- Watch video below for more details.