Kimchi

Kimchi

Kimchi is a kick-ass Korean fermented cabbage condiment and will become a regular staple in your home. Whenever we are cooking an Asian-inspired dish at home, such as eggs, curry, stir-fry, salad or some satays on the BBQ – out comes the kimchi to complement it.

  • serves: -
  • yields: 1.5 litres
  • prep time: 15 minutes (plus 10–14 days fermenting)
  • cook time: -
  • contains: fish
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What you'll need

  • 1 Chinese cabbage (wong bok), about 800 g
  • 3 spring onions thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches each), peeled, sliced then cut thinly into strips
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoons Korean chilli powder (gochugaru) or to taste
  • 1 sachet vegetable starter culture (2–5 g, depending on the brand)

Method

Play around with the spices and if you don’t like it hot, then simply reduce the amount of chilli you use.

1
Wash the jar and utensils thoroughly in very hot water or run them through a hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher.
2
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Choose one, wash it well and set aside. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces, discarding the root end.
3
Combine the cabbage with the spring onions. Sprinkle on the salt and mix well. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli powder. Mix well, cover and set aside.
4
Dissolve the starter culture in water according to the packet instructions (the amount of water will depend on the brand). Add to the vegetables and mix well. Fill the prepared jar with the vegetable mix, pressing down well between additions with a large spoon or potato masher to remove any air pockets. Leave 2 cm (¾ inch) of room free at the top. The vegetables should be completely submerged in the liquid, so add more water if necessary.
5
Fold the clean cabbage leaf, place it on top of the mixture and add a small glass weight to keep everything submerged (a small shot glass is ideal).
6
Close the lid, then wrap a tea towel around the side of the jar to block out the light. Store in a dark place with a temperature of 16–23°C (61°F-73°F) for at least 10 days and up to 2 weeks. (You can place the jar in an esky to maintain a more consistent temperature.)
7
Chill before eating. Once opened, it will last for up to 2 months in the fridge when kept submerged in the liquid. If unopened, it will keep for up to 9 months in the fridge.

Notes

You will need a 1.5-litre (1⅔ qt.) preserving jar with an airlock lid for this recipe.

Different vegetables have different culturing times and the warmer it is the shorter the time needed. The longer you leave the jar to ferment, the more good bacteria will present, and the tangier the flavour.

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