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Cabbage is a popular vegetable to ferment because of its naturally high water content—so high, in fact, that it creates its own brine. Simply massage a head of cabbage with a measured amount of salt, and it will release enough liquid to submerge itself.
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 pounds Napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into 1-inch strips
- ½ daikon, peeled, thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
Peel and chop pear, ginger, and garlic. Place in a food processor, add salt, and process to a fine paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add Napa cabbage, daikon, and scallions. Massage mixture with your hands until very well combined and cabbage starts releasing its liquid. Continue massaging until there is enough liquid to completely submerge cabbage (press it down into bowl to check).
Transfer cabbage and liquid to a large crock or jar. Place a plate on top of cabbage and weight with a jar filled with pie weights or water so cabbage stays submerged. Seal crock or cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Let sit at room temperature 5–7 days to ferment (the longer it sits, the more pronounced the flavor will be), then chill.
Do Ahead: Kimchi can be made 6 months ahead. Keep chilled.
Nutritional ContentPer 1/4 cup: Calories (kcal) 35 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 6 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 2 Sodium (mg) 1460Reviews Section
Baek (White) Kimchi
Kimchi, a Korean fermented pickle, is well known for it’s red colour and spicey flavour. This version of kimchi, baek means white, is actually probably older than the better known version, but just as delicious.
In my hometown in Canada, there has been a Korean restaurant or two at all times in the last 15 years or so. Buses full of Koreans come on tours through the Rocky Mountains, and they stop at the Korean restaurants, keeping the business running in a small town. These restaurants were my first introduction to metal chopsticks (harder than wood), lettuce rice wraps (so good), and sweet potato noodles (love. miss.).
My parents knew the owner of one of the restaurants, and my father called her up when we went there once as a family on one of my visits home. For us, she cooked real Korean food as opposed to the versions made for an American palate. What. A. Feast. Little dishes of various condiments, marinated beef still on the hot plate, dandelion kimchi, and those amazing noodles. The table was covered with various dishes that we shared. I rarely go to restaurants and am even more rarely impressed, but I still have visions about that meal.
Kimchi is a staple in Korea and I think it’s the cat’s meow that a fermented veggie is a national staple. According to a video I watched, 94% of Koreans have it every day, and 96% make it themselves instead of buying it in a store.
(What if 96% of North Americans and Europeans made their own yogurt? Or sauerkraut? Dreaming…but I digress.)
The video focused on gimjang, the communal gathering to make the year’s supply of kimchi. “Many hands make light work” goes the proverb, both because there are more people to do the job as well as the camaraderie. The fruit of the work is shared with neighbours and those less fortunate.
I found it comforting that each region had it’s own way of making kimchi. Some included fish broth, others pumpkin. Some fish sauce, other soy sauce. It made me feel like any kimchi recipe I might make up was my own regional version, instead of supplanting the original.
Watch the video, if you can, which I posted on my Facebook wall. It’s full of gems (like the root vegetable storage made of straw in the fields). You must be logged into your personal Facebook account in order to see it.
This version of white kimchi is made with simple ingredients that I can find. Looking around at other recipes, there was a pretty exotic ingredient list, calling for things like dropwort and jubjube fruit…I’ve never even seen those.
I’ve included two methods for making kimchi. The first method is the traditional method, and is pictured here. The second method is faster and easier, which is always a win in my books and is usually how I make it. It also uses much less salt overall.
The first few times I made kimchi the kids were cautious, but this time around two out of four were wolfing it down!
A Refreshing White Kimchi You’ll Adore Just as Much as the Classic
You may know Judy Joo from her Cooking Channel show Korean Food Made Simple or her cookbook of the same name. But if you’re unfamiliar with her work, you’ll want to quickly get acquainted.
The Korean-American, London-based chef, who’s also the owner of Jinjuu in London, is on a mission to showcase just how easy it is to make beloved Korean comfort food at home—with just a few staple ingredients you probably already have stored in your pantry. Her newest cookbook, “ Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food ,” is a testament to that. It’s brimming with recipes for street food, snacks, shareable dishes, and breads, coupled with tips on how to store a Korean cupboard and easy-to-follow recipes for essential sauces.
The book may be packed with classic and traditional Korean recipes—think oi muchim (chili-flecked cucumber salad) and soon dubu jiggae (seafood silken tofu soup)—but Judy has also developed recipes that pay homage to the UK, her home for the last 10 years. Woven into the cookbook you’ll find an assortment of British recipes with a Korean riff. Fish and chips gets a Korean spin with Judy’s recipe for fish and mushy beans: deep-fried, half-moon dumplings jammed with halibut and miso, ready to be mopped up with kimchi tartare sauce. Plus, her section devoted to desserts is buoyed by her love of infusing Korean ingredients into Western desserts. Whip up tiramisu marbled with coconut red bean misugaru or a batch of gochugaru and Nutella brownies, studded with crumbles of hazelnuts.
Judy Joo's Korean Soul Food: Authentic Dishes and Modern Twists, $24.49 on Amazon
Keep reading for a taste of Judy’s white kimchi, known as baek kimchi (one of four kimchi recipes in the book). Her version isn’t spicy rather, it’s refreshing and somewhat sweet, anchored by chunks of Korean cabbage, grated Asian pear, white radishes, carrots, and dried jujube dates. Although it’s often eaten in the warmer months—it’s stored in the fridge as a cool, refreshing snack—it’s the kind of kimchi you’ll want to eat year-round.
Once all of the ingredients have been packed into tightly sealed containers, the kimchi will need 2 to 3 days to rest on your counter to fully ferment. After a few days, the kimchi is ready to eat, but Judy suggests sticking it in the fridge (where it will continue to ferment) because that coldness is what makes the kimchi so refreshing. Then, simply eat as is (and enjoy its “soup”!), whisk the cabbage into scrambled eggs, or plop a mound atop your favorite rice bowl concoction.
Gallon Glass Jar with Plastic Airtight Lid, Two for $20.99 on Amazon
White Kimchi Recipe
Contrary to popular belief, not all kimchi is spicy. This white version is refreshing and crisp and often eaten in the summertime. The pickling liquid is so tasty, and rather revitalizing on a hot day you’ll often see people ‘drinking’ it by the spoonful.
1. Time – It takes at least three days to make kimchi so don’t think you’ll start the darn thing at 3 PM and have it for dinner. There’s no shortcut in kimchi making.
2. Vegan or Not? – traditionally kimchi has some sort of fish or shrimp extract in it, depending on which region it comes from. Many store bought kimchi has some sort of fish sauce in it so you have to read the label if you want to make it vegan . Fish sauce adds extra umami – the briny, salty, extra oomph– the main reason why we add it. But you can omit it if you want to keep it as vegan. There’s also sugar added for faster fermentation. Some people add straight up sugar but others make a sweet rice or regular white rice porridge. For this recipe, I don’t use sugar but I do use white rice slurry to feed the microbes.
3. It’s the salt – revered Kimchi masters would tell you, the real secret to great kimchi is all in the salt. Use it too sparingly and you’ll have a stringy mushy mess. Use it too much, you’ll end up with a just salty goopy mushy mess. But use it just right – and you know how it’s never a ‘tablespoon’ of this and ‘teaspoon’ of that but a ‘dash’ of this and ‘smidgen’ of that – and you’ll be good to go. But I did learn one solid fact use good quality Sea Salt. Never table salt or even kosher salt. You don’t want highly processed salt like table salt with iodine or kosher salt with different sodium content. I recommend good quality sea salt – fine or coarse – with high mineral content.
4. Fresh pepper or pepper flakes? – [UPDATE] In my original recipe, I used “Ancient Sweet Red Pepper” because it wasn’t as spicy as using gochugaru and since gochugaru was hard to find online. But now, you can find it on Amazon or any Asian grocery store. So I updated the recipe to use gochugaru and of course, you can use the proportions I listed here OR you can use more, depending on how much ‘heat’ you can take. You can also add a couple of spicy chili peppers to add color and more ‘heat.’ Or you can omit them and just use gochugaru.
If you are going to use gochugaru, packaged Korean red pepper flakes, make sure it’s from Korea. Many brands are produced or processed in China and they don’t taste the same as Korean grown and processed. Even the Korean produced, if the pepper flakes are old and not dried in the sun, they taste stale. And if you don’t have an experience with certain brands, they might be too spicy and you won’t know until you use it. Unfortunately, the packages do not tell you the scoville number – grades of spiciness – so you’ll have to experiment to see what brands you like.
Ready? Here is the ultimate authentic kimchi recipe even my grandma would be proud of.
For finishing broth
Optional Ingredients and Substitution
-Miniari (water dropwort) adds a very nice aroma and flavor but it can be omitted.
-For finishing broth, you can use plain filtered water instead of kelp broth. However, using kelp broth, fish broth or beef broth creates more depth in flavor.
-When choosing ingredients, consider color contrast. For example, if you don’t want to use chili thread, consider using other red vegetables like regular red chili pepper, dried dates or carrots. It is nice to have a mix of red, green, white and brown colors in the seasoning.
There are three ways of brining napa cabbages:
1. Dry method: Sprinkle coarse sea salt between the leaves of cabbages, leave them for 4 hours. Flip the cabbages and leave for another 4 hours (total 8 hours). Usually 1 cup of salt is used for one whole cabbage. Wash and drain.
(pros: shorter brining time, less salt is needed, cons: can be uneven)
2. Wet method: Make salt solution and FULLY immerse napa cabbages in the solution for a total of 12-16 hours (flip the cabbages after 6-8 hours). Put something heavy on top so the cabbages stay under the salt water. The optimal concentration of salt solution is 15-20%. The Ratio is water:coarse salt=5:1.
(pros: evenly brined, cons: longer brining time, a large amount of salt needed)
3. Combination of dry and wet methods: Make salt solution (water: coarse salt=5:1) in a large enough bowl to fit a half napa cabbage. Dip each half in the solution, take it out and place it in a large empty bowl. Then, sprinkle about ¼ cup of coarse salt (for each half) between the layers only on the white stem part. Repeat for each half. Then, pour the salt solution in the large bowl with all the napa cabbage halves. Leave them for about 3-4 hours. Flip the cabbages and leave it for another 3-4 hours (total 6-8 hours).
(pros: optimal brining time and amount of salt, cons: more effort required)
Brining time may vary depending on the temperature, the amount of salt and the type of napa cabbage used. In summer, brining time is shorter, In winter, it gets much longer. How do you know if the brining process is done? When you bend a leaf of the napa cabbage backwards, it should be bent all the way without breaking or resistance. After rinsing 2-3 times, it should saltier than the desired saltiness. The saltiness decreases during the fermentation process.
If there is too much salt, the napa cabbage will lose the sweet taste. If there is too little, your kimchi will taste really bland. Also, if it’s not brined long enough, it can taste bitter or rot instead of being properly fermented. Don't fret! After a few trials, you will get it!
Coarse sea salt is key to good kimchi. Table salt would not give you the same flavor and texture.
You can use anchovy fish sauce or kanari fish sauce instead of shrimp fish sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to use coarse sea salt?
You can use kosher salt. But, coarse ones are better than fine ones. If the particles are too small, it may speed up the brining process too much that the texture of kimchi may not be as crispy.
We don’t recommend using table salt (iodized salt) because iodine prevents fermentation and the texture and the color of kimchi may not turn out right.
How long should I ferment kimchi for?
Fermentation time depends on temperature and the amount of salt in the kimchi. A lower temperature and smaller amount of salt will make the fermentation process slower. They say slowly fermenting kimchi at 4-5℃ results in the most tasty kimchi.
The duration of fermentation also depends on your personal preference. Some people like fresh (almost unfermented) kimchi. Some like it very fermented and sour.
I personally like my kimchi fermented to medium sourness. I leave it out in room temperature for about 2 days for bark kimchi. The best way is to leave it out and taste it every day. When it reaches your preference, put it in the refrigerator. If you made a large amount, you can leave some out and store the rest in the fridge right away. Then, take some out later for more fermentation as needed.
Remember that kimchi will produce gas and liquid as it is fermented. Leave some room in the container, or it will overflow.
How should I store my kimchi and how long does it last?
Traditionally, kimchi was stored in earthenware called "Ong-gi." Ong-gi (Onggi) is breathable pottery that keeps kimchi and other fermented foods in an optimal condition. In the old days, Koreans used to make kimchi in the fall, then place it in an ong-gi and bury the ong-gi underground to keep the kimchi throughout the winter.
Today, most Koreans use plastic or stainless containers to store Kimchi, and keep the containers in a specialized Kimchi fridge. Kimchi fridges keep kimchi at an optimal temperature, and keeps your regular fridge free of the potent kimchi smell.
If you don't have any of the above, place the kimchi in a tightly sealed container and keep in the fridge.
Why go through the hassle of making kimchi with a whole napa cabbage instead of pre-cutting it?
There are at least 3 benefits of making kimchi with an uncut cabbage:
1. Making kimchi with whole (uncut) napa cabbages minimizes direct exposure to air which helps kimchi stay tasty for a longer period of time.
2. When the cabbages are pre-cut, the seasoning is absorbed into the cross section immediately and decreases the delicious and unique fermented taste.
3. When the kimchi is cut afterward, it allows a better presentation. It also shows that Kimchi is freshly taken out and has not been served to anyone else (i.e., it’s not a leftover that was served in previous meals).
Do you have to cut kimchi when serving?
In general, kimchi is cut when it is served as a regular side dish. However, sometimes the leaves are left long when kimchi is served to wrap rice and meat. When you cut kimchi for serving, cut once down the middle the long way. Then, cut across both halves multiple times to create bite size pieces. Carefully move the sliced kimchi onto the serving plate so that the layers are beautifully presented.
More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.
Making Familiar Flavors New
Remember when I said you can add kimchi to almost anything? Case in point: this grilled cheese sandwich with kimchi. Case in point, part two: this New York–style pizza topped with soppressata and kimchi. For a slightly more considered application, try roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with a sauce of kimchi, ginger, shallots, rice wine vinegar, and fish sauce a kimchi chicken salad, which merges the pickle seamlessly into a tangy rendition of the classic and a kimchi-spiked riff on clam sauce that's just as good on pasta as it is on rice cakes.
Easiest Way to Make Authentic Kimchi
Using authentic korean family recipes, roots of kimchi is the perfect partnering of korean heritage and modern british production.
Recipe Summary Kimchi Fried Rice
This is a very basic kimchi fried rice, a humble dish made with leftover rice, kimchi, and usually a processed meat like Spam®. In this recipe I used cubed ham and veggies I had in the fridge. Serve with a sunny side up egg over top if you like.
Ingredients | Authentic Kimchi
Info | Authentic Kimchi
prep: 10 mins cook: 15 mins total: 25 mins Servings: 4 Yield: 4 servings
TAG : Kimchi Fried Rice
World Cuisine Recipes, Asian,
Images of Authentic Kimchi
Authentic Kimchi / Kimchi, a staple in korean cuisine, is a 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 (chili powder), spring onions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood), etc.
- 2 bunches small white turnips (about sixteen 1-inch turnips)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 quarts water
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 scallions
- One 1/2-inch piece of fresh peeled ginger, cut into thin rounds
- 1 serrano chile&mdashhalved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded
Trim the turnips, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stems. Halve the turnips lengthwise and transfer them to a 2-quart glass jar. Dissolve 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of the salt in 1 quart of the water and pour the brine over the turnips. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
Drain and rinse the turnips. Wash out the jar. Return the turnips to the jar. Dissolve the remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of salt in the remaining 1 quart of water. Add the garlic, scallions, ginger and chile to the turnips. Pour enough of the brine into the jar to cover the turnips. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- In a bowl, mix the cabbage and salt and squeeze it to soften slightly.
- Place in a strainer and cover with a heavy plate or bowl so pressure is applied.
- Let strain over a bowl or the sink for an hour.
- Put strained cabbage in a bowl, and add in vinegar, scallions, carrot slices, and chiles.
- Add the 7UP®, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving, fold in the watercress.
Wondering what to put this popular dish on? Try kimchi on sandwiches, especially those that are salty, meat-heavy, or rich. Stir it into fried rice, or layer it into a rice bowl. Add it to tacos instead of the traditional lettuce or cabbage slaw.
White Kimchi (non-spicy, Kid-Friendly)
White kimchi refers to any style which does not contain red pepper powder. It pre-dates spicy kimchi in Korea by several hundred years. There are many ways to make white kimchi.
This is the “mak” or sliced cabbage style. We also have a more “formal” white kimchi in quarters recipe.
This recipe includes a lot of the zingy components of spicy kimchi, but no red pepper powder. Kids will love it!
- 4 lbs/2 kg (about 1 medium-large head) Chinese (Napa) cabbage
- 1 lb/ ½ kg Korean radish, daikon or other radish
- 3 oz./100 grams Asian pear (about 1 small or ½ medium fruit)
- 1 carrot or small beet root, about 50 grams/2 oz.
- 30 grams (1/2 cup/125 ml) fresh mushrooms, chopped, any variety
- 40 g garlic cloves, about 4-6 cloves
- 30 grams (3-inch/13cm) fresh ginger root
- 4 green onions
- 1 Tbsp./15 ml tamari (gluten-free) or regular soy sauce
- 6 Tbsp./120 grams/90 ml fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 quarts/liters filtered water
- Stir salt into water until it dissolves.
- Wash and rinse cabbage with fresh water to remove dirt. Remove any outer leaves from the cabbage and set aside. Chop cabbage into 1-inch chunks/strips. Slice the core very thinly. (Some discard the core, but you can slice it and include it).
- Peel and cut stems off radish. Cut into ¼"/ 6mm coins using a mandoline or knife.
- Add cabbage and radish pieces to the brine in a large container or mixing bowl. Cover with a something to weigh the veggies down so that the contents submrege under the brine. Put a bowl or plate underneath the container to catch excess overflowing brine.Let soak for 3 to 6 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Drain the veggies through a colander, reserving 1 cup/ 250 ml of the brine.
- Chop scallions into ½" /13mm slices. Add to work bowl of a food processor or blender.
- Peel and roughly chop the garlic and peel and chop the ginger. Add to work bowl.
- Roughly chop the carrot and the mushrooms and add to work bowl.
- Roughly chop the Asian Pear and add to work bowl.
- Add soy sauce to work bowl.
- Run food processor until ingredients are all incorporated and a thick paste forms. You can adjust by adding more tamari/soy sauce or reserved brine to make it smoother.
- Now the fun part! Wear a latex or plastic glove to protect your hands from getting stinky.
- Mix the veggies and paste together thoroughly with your hands, coating each piece.
- Pack mixed veggies into the fermenting container.
- Secure container with a weight and airlock (follow airlock kit instructions if using).
- If not using airlock, add a weight on top of the veggies to keep the contents down underneath the brine. Cover container with a dish towel or tea towel to keep out flies and dust. Secure with a rubber band, twist ties or elastic strap.
- Store in a dark place in your kitchen for at least 5 days. When you like the taste and texture, remove any airlock or weights, seal lid tightly and transfer to a refrigerator.
- Cabbage kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. After that, it may lose its crunch, and soften up. It's still perfectly fine to eat, but some people prefer to use old kimchi for cooking.
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