First off—everyone makes kimchee differently. Some people really like to add fish sauce. I’m all… nope, not for me. So, please note, you can totally make this recipe much more Korean by adding a few tablespoons of fish sauce (shrimp or anchovy) to the mix. You’re also going to have to find your own family’s taste. Adjust the ingredients to your liking. Spice it up or dial it back down. Whatever you like.
These will keep in the fridge for several weeks. Hopefully, it’ll be gone before you have to worry about that.
What you’ll need:
1.5-2 lbs of chopped napa or bok choy cabbage—maybe about a head or so. Chop roughly. You want big pieces
3 bunches of green onions, chopped into small pieces
* 3 T minced ginger (I actually freeze my ginger and then pare it off with a knife.)
* 1-1.5 cups seasoned rice vinegar
* 1/2 cup water
* 1-2 T salt
* 1 T black pepper
* Red chili paste to taste. You can use any kind of chili pepper, flakes or a wet sauce. I like to use a wet red chili and garlic mix. Totally to taste. We use a lot in my house.
More Salt (this doesn’t go in the mix. We’re going to use this first.
2 Quart jars. Rinsed out mayo jars work for this. Spaghetti sauce jars. Whatever works. If no jars, you can use Tupperware. But it has to seal tightly.
Mix everything (marked *) but the cabbage and green onions together in a bowl. Put it aside so the flavours can blend.
Put the cabbage in a large bowl and salt it with a heavy hand. You’re going to want to coat the leaves. Add enough water to moisten and stir well. Cover bowl with wrap or towel so nothing gets in it then let it sit for an hour or so, turning it once in a while.
After an hour, rinse it completely. Get as much of the salt out as possible. Taste a leaf until you can barely taste salt. If you can’t taste salt, even better. The leaves should be limp. Squeeze as much water out as you can. Mix the green onions in with the cabbage.
Pack the cabbage into the jars. Not too tightly but get a good bit of it in there. Tamp it down until it is firm and full nearly to the top. Slowly pour the liquid in until the vegetables are covered. Put the lid on and refrigerate for a few hours. Overnight is best but it’ll be ready to eat in about 3-4.
The sauce is going to be the same for every variation. The only difference will be the vegetable and if you add 3/4 cup of sugar to make a “sweet” pickle kimchee.
Takuan (sweet pickle): Chop daikon into thick half moons (bite size pieces). Salt and rinse. Prepare mix and add 3/4 c sugar. Traditionally, you’d add a few drops of yellow food colouring. This is optional. I however cannot eat takuan without it being bright yellow.
Jicama (sweet pickle): An alternative for the daikon is jicama. This has turned into a big favourite. Good crunch and takes up the flavour well. Prepare exactly in the same way as the takuan (you can skip the yellow food colouring here too). I chop jicama into spears for variation.
Cucumber: This can be made either regular or sweet. Most people prefer it done in the sweet style. Use a thick walled cucumber like Japanese or hothouse. Remove the seeds if they are very pulpy. Chop into bite sized moons.
Radish: Quarter or half red radishes and prepare as usual. I don’t normally add red pepper to this one but some do. Please keep in mind, the liquid will turn red and when the radishes are ready to eat, they will be pinkish as the skin’s colour has leeched off into the liquid.