Kimchi is a tasty fermented food similar to sauerkraut but made with Korean flavors (garlic, ginger, chili). It’s easy to prepare at home and, importantly, fermented foods are great for gut health, aide digestion, and boost immunity.
If you’re not famliar with kimchi, it’s considered Korean “soul food” and has been served as a side dish there for many generations. Koreans consume about 40 pounds of this superfood per person per year!
Our recipe is a simple one that takes about 20 minutes to prepare. Then you let nature take over with fermentation—for all those amazing health benefits. Kimchi is packed with “good” bacteria, or probiotics, that boost immunity, energize the body, aid digestion, lower cholesterol, and regulate blood sugar.
A few cooking tips:
- You can certainly make as spicy or mild as you like.
- You need to use Napa cabbage, not just any type of cabbage.
- Many traditional kimchi recipes involve a seafood ingredient, such as fish sauce to add depth but you can leave this out. Or, use soy sauce if you wish.
You can eat kimchi as a side dish, add to rice, eat with eggs, make a strew, flavor a braise, or top off a BBQ sandwich! Get creative.
1. In a bowl, dissolve 5 tablespoons of salt in 6 cups of water to make a brine. Set aside outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the remaining head into quarters. Remove the core and cut the quarters crosswise to form 2-inch pieces called nabak. Soak cabbage in brine for 8 to 10 hours, or overnight.
2. Drain and rinse cabbage. Discard brine.
3. Return cabbage to bowl and add radish, scallions, ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic, and (optional) seafood ingredient.
4. Stir to combine. Pack mixture tightly into a widemouth, 2-quart canning jar with a plastic lid (metal will corrode), leaving at least 2 inches of headspace. Fold and place reserved cabbage leaves on top of kimchi to hold it down.
5. Make a fresh brine from 1 tablespoon of salt dissolved in 4 cups of water. Pour enough fresh brine to cover cabbage, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Put on the lid, making it snug but not too tight, as some gas may need to escape. Place in a bowl or on a rimmed baking sheet and put in a cool place.
6. Let ferment for 7 days. Check daily to make sure cabbage is still submerged under brine. After a week, taste, then refrigerate when you find it to be satisfyingly tart and tangy!
It will keep for (at least) a few months in the fridge when the kimchi is submerged below the brine and only gets more flavorful with time.