Kimchi is a korean staple of spicy fermented cabbage, used as an accompaniment to many dishes. My kimchi obsession has grown past merely a side dish to Asian stir fries and ramens that I now spoon it onto my morning avocado toast and even use it in grilled cheese toasties! Needless to say, I have now learnt to always keep a store in the fridge for when i'm really craving something salty, spicy and sour all in one kick. Some people use fish sauce or shrimp paste in theirs but I prefer the vegan version and find it salty and fizzy enough without. Find my recipe for kimchi fried rice here.
1 napa cabbage, washed
2tbsp sea salt
5 cloves garlic, peeled
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 tbsp sugar
2tbsp soya sauce
4 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red chilli paste)
4 scallions (or spring onions), roughly chopped
Ensure all your equipment and hands are clean to prevent any harmful bacteria forming throughout fermentation.
Remove the outermost leaves of the cabbage, quarter and remove the bottom hard core. Slice into rough 4cm strips and place in a large container. Sprinkle over all the salt and pour over just enough water so that all the cabbage leaves are submerged. Give it a good mix to ensure the salt is evenly distributed. You may need to weigh down the cabbage with a plate to ensure it is fully submerged. Leave to brine for at least 2 hours or overnight.
In a blender, blitz together the gochugarung, garlic, ginger, sugar and soya sauce. Add a bit of water if the mix is too thick, it needs to be a thick custard-like consistency. Adjust the amount of red chilli paste depending on how spicy you can handle!
Drain the cabbage from the brine water and rinse well to wash off any extra salt. Leave to drain and dry well.
Place the cabbage in a large mixing bowl, pour over the paste mix and stir through the chopped scallions. I like to use my hands and really massage in the paste to all the cabbage leaves.
Stuff the cabbage into a large kilner jar, leaving space at the top for liquid to collect.
Leave out in a cool, dark place for 48 hours to begin the fermentation. Bubbles should begin to form at the surface. The flavour will intensify and cabbage will soften. Then transfer to the fridge to continue fermenting. The kimchi is ready to eat whenever you like it but the longer you leave it, the tangier and more delicious it gets. I recommend storing it for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Photography by Holly Farrier. http://hollyfarrier.com/