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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Homemade Kimchi

Ok, so kimchi is not your typical Christmas food or gift, but well I'm not typical I guess...

  This year I decided to make most of our gifts to make them more personal and less commercial.  My stepfather was stationed in Korea in the Army and loves kimchi, so I decided to make him some as a gift.  Since he's had actual Korean Kimchi I wanted to try to find an authentic recipe.  Probably making something I've never made before is not the best idea, so I'm feeling a tad insecure about it.  I also have never actually tasted it so I have no idea if it is right or not!  

I found many, many recipes out there.  Most with very similar ingredients so I kind of combined them all and the following recipe is what I ended up doing, hopefully with good results.

Kimchi Recipe:

  • 2 Heads Napa cabbage, chopped into 2" squares
  • Salt  the cabbage with 1/2 cup kosher salt, mix well to coat, I placed mine in 2 gallon ziplock bags for about 5 hours.  Many of the recipes called for much more salt, but comments of being way to salty were common and people cut the salt way back.  
  • Rinse the cabbage very well and squeeze as much of the water out of it as you can. 
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 1 bunch of green onions chopped into 1/2" - 1" pieces.
We are lucky enough to have a Korean market, and my husband (who had to ask for directions to the products for a change because none of them were in English) was kind enough to go pick up my fish sauce and Korea hot chile pepper powder.  It's hot, but not as hot as cayenne, more like hot paprika, but maybe even not that hot.

 In a bowl mix together the following: 
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce (recipes varied from 1 Tbsp to 1/2 cup for the same amount of cabbage)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
  • 1" chunk of fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 heaping tablespoons Korean chile powder
What the mix looked like in the bowl

Wearing gloves mix the spice mixture into the cabbage vegetable mixture.  Place into a clean container.  The mixture fit into 2, quart canning jars.

  Pack the mixture in tightly, and I placed the lids on loosely so pressure doesn't build up (and blow up the jars).  Ferment at room temperature for 4 days, then refrigerate.  Most of the recipes say it can store for 1 month, but I've read it can be stored much longer and will continue to ferment.

So that is what I did, I'll let you know how it turns out.  Has anyone made kimchi, and if so, do you have any suggestions for me?

Follow Up:  Everything seems to have worked well with this recipe.  I never ended up tasting it, I had a stomach bug when it was ready.  The person I gave it to said it was better than the ones he has gotten at the store.   I guess I'll have to give it another try and actually eat some this time...


  1. My niece is Korean and her dad made the most amazing kimchi ever. I could eat it by the bowls full. Now he has passed away and my niece is making it...it is awesome. Of course your breath smells awful for days...I guess that is what gum is for LOL.


  2. That sounds yummy, will look forward to hearing how it turns out!

    Your mittens are beautiful!!!! Have a wonderful Christmas