kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that creates sauerkraut and traditional dill pickles, a staple in Korean cuisine, is a famous traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage and Korean radish, made with a widely varying selection of seasonings including gochugaru, spring onions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal.
1 medium head Chinese cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt
2 tablespoon grated garlic
2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 tablepoons fish sauce
2 teaspoon shrimp paste
5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 cup radish peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 medium scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
For making porridge:
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoon glutinous rice flour
First prepare the porridge, Combine the water and the glutinous rice flour in a small pot. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it starts to bubble and becomes sticky. Remove from the heat and let it cool off completely. Set aside.
Prepare the cabbage:
Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem into quarters. Cut the cores from each piece. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.
Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Add enough water to cover the cabbage. Let stand for 1 hours.
Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times. Set aside to drain in a colander for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the spice paste.
In a bowl add the prepared glutinous flour porridge, garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce, shrimp paste, and stir into a smooth paste. Stir in the gochugaru; set aside until the cabbage is ready.
Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage , combine the vegetables and spice paste and add the radish and scallions.
Mix thoroughly. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated.
Pack the kimchi into the jar. Press down on the kimchi until the liquid that comes out rises to cover the vegetables. Seal the jar.
Let it ferment for 5 days. Let the jar stand at cool room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 5 days.
Check the kimchi once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. This also releases gases produced during fermentation. When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two.