Last Nov 8 my friend Annie Ha invited me over to spend a day making Kimchi. When she started sending me various recipes, in Korean, I immediately cleared my schedule.
The day involved many adventures into Chinatown (closer to Annie than Koreatown) for ingredients and containers, as well as an impromptu lunch of conch and frozen fish balls. The conch looked like dirty shells with black turds hanging out of them (I was secretly terrified), but Annie boiled them up, rotated them out of their shell with a chopstick and mixed up some vinegar and red pepper paste to dip them in, and they ended up being fantastic.
This recipe is adapted by Annie from original Korean. It makes about a year’s worth of Kimchi and requires a full shelf of fridge space to store…but I have already eaten almost all my batch at the 2 month mark. I blame Annie for teaching me how to make Kimchi pancake, and uncle Steele for encouraging Kimchi soup and stir fry.
5 Napa cabbages
9-10 cup Solar Salt
1 large Daikon radish, peeled and julienned
25 garlic cloves
5 knobs ginger, peeled
1 bunch Chinese chives*, chopped into same length as radish
3T salted shrimp
1 1/2 cups raw fresh shrimp, peeled and tails removed
5 cups korean red pepper powder
6 tbsp Rice Powder (Optional, good for consistency)
1 cup Korean Fish Sauce (Annie thinks we used anchovy)
3 tbsp sugar
2 large clean buckets (dry wall sized)
2-3 large tupperware containers with tight-fitting lids for storage (or non-reactive glass jars)
First Salt the Cabbage
Cut each cabbage into 4 quarters. Only cut half way from the bottom and and rip with hands, so each quarter’s leaves are still attached at the root.
In a large bucket, prepare 5 cups of salt dissolved in 8 liters of cool water.
Submerge the cabbages in the salted water for 5 mins.
Take cabbage out from the salt water and pack salt between leaves of each, focusing on the tough part near the root (use about 4 cups of salt for 5 cabbages).
Put the cabbages back into the salt water. Lightly cover to keep out dust and cure at room temperature 7-8 hours (keep the bucket in a cool place -outside maybe if your kitchen is warm).
Optional, but adds to texture: Combine 3 cups of water and 6 tbps of rice powder and boil on medium heat for 7 mins to create a thick paste. Let cool as you combine other ingredients in another large bucket.
In a Food Processor or blender, combine raw shrimp, salted shrimp, pear, apple, garlic, ginger, fish sauce and 2 tbsp salt. Process into a fine paste.
Mix in Chinese chives and radish. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let marinate a few hours until cabbage is ready.
7-8 hours in – wash salted cabbage
Once cabbage is drained – combine with sauce
(Reserve 1 quarter salted cabbage if making Bo Ssam dinner)
Using your hands, individually insert sauce mixture into each drained cabbage quarter, working to get some sauce in between every leaf. Wipe off excess sauce from root end down to leaves and curl leaf end around itself to create a solid second end (see picture) and place into tupperware.
Store in airtight bin on counter at room temperature for 3 days. If your house is warner than 68 f, consider keeping outside or in the basement.
Refrigerate. Kimchi is ready to eat in about 1 week, and will last all year in the fridge.
Bonus Bo Ssam Dinner
Note: Image below is a recreation where I tested both roasted and boiled pork belly. Joe preferred roasted, I preferred boiled…choose for yourself.
Cover pork belly with water in a small pot/sauce pan, add salt shrimp and boil 1 hour until tender.
Cut belly into bite-sized slices and serve with reserved cabbage and sauce.
To eat make a cabbage leaf “taco” with belly, sauce and rice inside.