Kimchi is one of those foods that some love and others not so much. My departed wife, Youngmi, made excellent kimchi and, that’s how I was introduced to it and grew to love it.
There are two basic kinds of kimchi; fresh or fermented.
Fresh kimchi is the kind that you make and begin to enjoy right away. The fermented version you let sit for a few weeks before eating it. My preference is fresh kimchi.
I found this recipe on Seonkyoung Longest’s website. It’s not exactly like Youngmi’s kimchi but, it’s darned close. Bt the way, Seonkyoung website is my go-to place when I’m looking for a Korean recipe that’s close to what Youngmi would have made.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and make some kimchi!
For the salted cabbage
- 2½ lb. Napa cabbage
- 2 cups Cold water
- ⅓ cup Sempio coarse sea sal
For kimchi paste
- 5 Cloves garlic
- 3 or 4 Green onions
- 4 Tbs. Gochugaru, Korean red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbs. Fish sauce
- 2 Tbs. Apricot preserve
- 1 Tbs. Toasted sesame seed
- Cut napa cabbage in quarters, and remove the stem. In a large bowl, add the yellow small part of cabbage leaves as whole, and the rest of the bigger leaves cut into about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide then add into the bowl as well. Doesn’t need to be exact sizes uneven-cut cabbage pieces are better for texture.
- Mix cold water and sea salt until salt has been absorbed; pour over cabbage. Toss cabbage pieces to mix well with salted water and press it down as much as possible. Let it soak for a total of 40 minutes. After 20 minutes, toss upside down so cabbage will soak evenly.
Meanwhile, let’s make kimchi paste
- Finely chop garlic and cut green onion into half lengthwise then cut into 1 inch long pieces.
- Add all ingredients for kimchi paste except sesame seeds in a mixing bowl and combine, set aside.
- Drain salted cabbage and rinse under running cold water for about 1 minute to get rid of excess salt and some dust. Drain completely for about 5 minutes.
- Combine cabbage and paste in a large mixing bowl and mix with your hand (I recommend you to wear a plastic glove) with gentle pressure and squeeze action, so cabbage will absorb the color and flavor of paste very well.
- Add toasted sesame seeds and give a light final toss, transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with some garnish of extra sprinkle sesame seeds.
- On the red pepper flakes, keep in mind that not all pepper flakes have the same heat level. We suggest startng with 2 tablespoons of pepper flake and adjust to your liking.
- You can store this in your refrigerator for a week or so while still maintaining the fresh taste. Longer that a week, the kimchi will start to ferment. There’s nothing wrong with it but the flavor with change and become more sour.
- To store it in the refrigerator, you can use any storage bowl or a mason jar. If you use a plastic storage bowl, keep in mind that the kimchi will most likely stain it and the plastic will absorb the kimchi flavor. We use this container for storing our kimchi.