Takes 2 days.
1 rectangular plastic pan (dishpan)
1 pair rubber gloves
1 wide mouth 2 Qt. container w/ cover or covered ceramic crock
3-4 jars for storage (pints or quarts)
- 1 large or 2 small Napa cabbage
- 1 white radish (Daikon) cut in small chunks- optional
- about 1 cup Kosher salt (coarse)
- 1 small knob fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 1/2 to 2 T powdered chile peppers (try mixing different kinds)
- 1/8 t sugar
- 1 T fish sauce (available at Asian markets)- optional
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 T roasted sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds- optional
Cut off base of cabbage and wash leaves separately. Layer one layer of
cabbage leaves side by side, in alternate directions across bottom of
dishpan. Sprinkle layer with salt. Continue layering cabbage
and sprinkling with salt. Continue cutting off base to free leaves as
necessary. Split core and salt. Add radish chunks if desired and salt.
When salting is done, position pan lengthwise against your stomach.
Turn leaves by inserting hands under the
leaves on the far end of the pan and rolling the leaves toward the center.
Turn pan around and repeat. The bottom leaves are now on top. Push leaves
down tightly and place a dinner plate and a weight on top (We use a full tea
kettle as a weight). Leave overnight or about 8-10 hours.
Next morning, mix sauce ingredients (The 8 ingredients listed after the
cabbage, radish and salt)in bowl. As sauce marinates, lift out
cabbage in large batches and squeeze out water. Lay on cutting board. Rinse
out pan. Cut cabbage into 2" pieces and return to dishpan. Put on rubber
gloves and mix in the sauce with the cabbage. Put Kim chee in a covered
container, pushing down after each handful is put in. Keep pressing until
some liquid is forced to the top. Cover and let ripen 2-5 days until it
turns slightly sour (We usually leave it 2 days). Taste kim chee on second
day and each day thereafter. When sour, transfer to jars with tight lids and
refrigerate. Lasts until it's gone.
Two important notes:
1- always wear gloves when handling kimchi. The
pungent odors will otherwise penetrate your skin and you'll smell like
garlic for days!
2- we put our covered container in a large (1-1/2
gallon)ziplock bag to contain the aforementioned odors while it's
An interesting historical note: My Dad told me that the US Army was
concerned during the Korean War that the troops were eating the native raw
pickled cabbage (kimchi). Tests were conducted and the happy finding was
that no harmful bacteria can survive in the kimchi juice.