Fell in love with kimchi after Erin, my friend and cultured food creator extraordinaire, gave me a big jar last fall. It is a national staple in Korea, accompanying every meal and serves as a great digestive aide if consuming the lacto-fermented style. The recipe allows for many variations and amounts of veggies and spices. Play around with it and enjoy!
4-5 heads of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
1 chili pepper
one head chinese cabbage (savoy, bok choi work as well) coarsely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
2 daikon radish, peeled and sliced
1 onion, cut into quarters
Nori sheets, torn in strips
1 tbsp whey (use additional salt if you don’t have)
Place the rest of ingredients in large ceramic or glass bowl, stirring in up to 4 tbsp of salt.
Use a wooden to spoon to break up the vegetable fibers and much as possible. This usually takes about 5 minutes of good mashing.
Add ginger, garlic, chili paste and stir. Press mixture in crock or, my favorite, a half gallon mason jar. Make sure container is no metal and never use metal lids or utensils to work with the mixture.
Press veggies down as far as you can so juice floats to top and covers them. Leave at least an inch of space between liquid and top of container. If you have whey, pour into top of mixture. Cover with glass, ceramic or fabric lid. I like to place a paper towel over jar and secure with a rubber band.
Put jar in a nice, out of the way place and check every day by tasting. Push down veggies at every check to make sure they stay under the liquid. Kimchi is ready when it reaches a bit of a tang, like a pickle. Depending on temperature, I find this takes 8-12 days.
When fermentation is to your liking, place in fridge, where kimchi will keep for a couple months.