Friday, May 22, 2015

Spicy Kimchi

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This month as part of my New Year’s Resolution I’ve gone with Kimchi. My awesome neighbor is a wonderful gardener and I love getting stuff from them. They brought over some radishes which I had never seen before. I also am not familiar with what to do with this amount of radishes either.

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Upon researching I found out they are Green and white winter radishes. Not knowing what to do with these softball size monsters I took to Pinterest and came across kimchi. I happen to really love this Asian slaw. When friends asked what I was gonna do with it once I made it I simply said it’s like salsa it goes on anything haha. I’ve got to say this is super easy to make and it last up to a year in the fridge so it’s worth making up a batch. Monday I’ll have a recipe that uses some of this delicious stuff!

Spicy Kimchi

(Adapted from Primally Inspired)


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2 heads Napa cabbage (about 6 pounds total)

1 cup sea salt

2 cups spring or distilled water

1 large diakon radish (about 1½ pounds), peeled

4 large carrots (about ¾ pound total)

1 apple, peeled and core removed (don't leave the apple out! The apple provides sugar for the bacteria to eat so it can ferment properly)

2 bunches of scallions, chopped

1 whole head of garlic, peeled

4 ounces fresh ginger

1½ cups hot Korean chili flakes (found in Asian markets or online. I use THESE)

optional: 1 teaspoon fish sauce (I use THIS)

optional: pinch or two (or three!) of dried red pepper flakes. The more pinches, the spicier! I typically use 2 pinches - about 1 teaspoon.

⅓ cup additional distilled or spring water

clean mason jars (I use 8 of THESE jars)


Cut your cabbage in one inch (bite size) pieces and place it in 2 very large bowls.


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Add ½ cup sea salt and 1 cup of water to each bowl and toss with your hands to coat.


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Let the cabbage sit for one hour, tossing every 20 minutes. You'll start to see the cabbage releasing liquid and shrinking in size - that's exactly what we want!


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While the cabbage is sitting, shred your radish, carrots and apple in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can chop them in small pieces. Set aside.


In a food processor, process the garlic and ginger until smooth.


Fold in your Korean hot chili flakes, red pepper flakes (if using) and fish sauce (if using) and ⅓ cup water. Stir until it becomes a paste. Set aside.


After the cabbage has sat for 1 hour, rinse it very well with cold water and then strain the water. Rinse and strain for a total of 3 times. Rinsing and straining 3 times is important because you want to wash away most of the salt or it will be way too salty!


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Place your rinsed cabbage in one of your very large bowls (it should all fit in one bowl now).


Add the radish, carrot, scallions and apple and your hot chili/garlic/ginger paste.


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With gloves on your hands (important!), toss everything together making sure that the paste coats all the veggies well.


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Add the kimchi to your mason jars packing it in tightly. Make sure to leave at least 2 inches of headroom (the kimchi will expand as it ferments). Close the lids to your jars. This recipe usually makes about 8-10 pint size jars.


Close the lids on your jars and let them sit for 3-5 days.


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You must "burp" the jars once a day during these 3-5 days. You do that by quickly opening the jar and then closing it. You'll hear gas releasing - just like what it sounds like when you open a soda. That is normal and a good sign! You should see small bubbles in your jar, too. And if you hold the opened jar to your ears, you'll also hear it fizzing. That's like music to a fermenters ears :)


After 3 days, give your kimchi a taste. If it tastes tangy and "fizzy", that means your kimchi is finished and you can move your jars to the fridge. They will last about a year in the fridge. If you don't taste that tanginess, let your kimchi sit for a few more days.



You may want to put the jars on a tray while they are fermenting. If you didn't leave enough headroom, your kimchi liquid could spill out of the jars, leaving you with a big mess - a tray helps catch that liquid :)

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